Skip to main content

Full text of "Memorials of the life of mrs. [E.] Newton, by her daughter [- Newton]."

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 

















This little book owes its present form to the 
suggestion of a relative, who assisted me in 
looking over my mother's papers shortly after 
her death. Among those which had been laid 
aside, for many long years, we found the 
journaf of her father, the late Captain Nodes, 
written about the middle of the last century ; 
her own diary, extending from 1779 to 1865 ; 
her correspondence before her marriage ; to- 
gether with several interesting letters and 
documents relating to her early history, and 
to the family of her late husband. With th^se 
ample materials before me, I have attempted 
to sketch such a memoir as would be a faithful 
picture of her journeying heaven- ward^ in. faitk 
and hope, amidst the joys and. ^ottorw^ ^^ 

vi Preface, 

domestic life. The diflSculty of mating a 
selection from the diary was lessened by the 
unrestrained intercom^se which I had shared 
with her for many years. Her voice of counsel 
is now for ever silent ; but I learaed to read 
the feelings of her heart, and I believe that 
I have written as under the guidance of the 
hand that has now returned to dust However 
inadequately my part of the task has been 
performed, I know that, in the main, the 
following narrative would have met with her 
approval, though her Christian humility might 
have shrunk from any laudatory tribute what- 
ever to her memory. 

Perhaps some of the incidents related may 
seem trivial, and scarcely worth recording; 
but to judge fairly of the character of the truly 
good, we must not only view them on the 
high ground of spiritual communion with God, 
but follow them amid the scenes of daily 

It must not "be forgotten that the first years 

of Mrs. Newton's life were spent in worldly 

gaiety. Her early training was not religious ; 

and the interest felt in hpr character is 

lieigbtened by the fact that, in the bloom of 

Preface. vii 

youth, surrounded by the flattery and atten- 
tion of the votaries of fashion, and with the 
pleasures of the world within her grasp, she 
came to the cross of Christ, and joyfully 
accepted its reproach. 

Shelley Rectoey, 

MoTi^i Wih, 1867. 


It has been said that " Biography is a struggle 
with death." Like sculpture, and painting, it is 
a feeble effort to perpetuate the living charac- 
ter that has departed from us, — to arrest the 
form we have loved before it begins to fade from 
the remembrance, and belongs to those things 
of the past which can only be recalled, as the 
fleeting imagery of a dream, in broken and 
disconnected fragments. We are not attempting 
to bring the life of Elizabeth Newton before 
the public for its own sake merely : her memory 
belongs to the church. Some there are, even 
beyond her own immediate circle, who will wel- 
come it, because for fifty-two years she was the 
dear and honoured companion of Robert Newton, 
of Boxby. Her history will inspire interest, as 
associated with his; although " the story of their 
many years" seems already to belong to another 
generation than this,— so few atci l\\^iiei x^\£iS^\ivoL'5^ 

B A 

2 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

who were included in the number of their 
personal friends. In her own case, life was 
prolonged much beyond the ordinary allotted 
period; and she seemed at last to live alone, 
surrounded by the memories of other days, 
and shut out by sickness and infirmity from 
intercourse with any but the members of her 

Elizabeth Newton was the daughter of Captain 
John Nodes, (Nineteenth Infantry,) of Skelton, 
near York. On her father's side she was de- 
scended from a worthy line of ancestry, dating 
back to the time of Henry the Seventh, from 
whom the grant of family-arms to " his beloved 
friend John Nodes," of that remote age, was 
obtained. Her mother's maiden name was 
Sowter. Elizabeth — or Bessy, as she was always 
called in the family — was born September 3d, 
1779, at Red-House, shortly before her father's 
removal to Skelton-Hall. She was the second 
child of her parents, her only brother being just 
two years older than herself. Little is known 
of her infancy and early childhood. It was 
passed in the happy seclusion of a country 
village; and the writer of this narrative has 
heard her speak of sundry childish treats and 
pleasures, well remembered in her serene old 
age, — of " riding pillion " to York, in com- 
pany with her father, — of watching, from the 
attic window f the hounds meet at Skelton-Hall, 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 3 

and seeing her little brother follow them on his 
donkey, — of going to the village-school with 
"Molly" her maid, where both were learners. 
Her j&rst grief came early. There was a long 
interval of silence and watching in the house, 
very terrible to the young imagination. The ser- 
vants moved to and fro noiselessly; " mamma" 
was never visible; and the doctor bustled about 
as if he were one of the family. Then came 
a mournful afternoon ; and some one whispered, 
"Hushl your papa is dead." Bessy screamed 
with terror; but, like a child, was easily 
pacified. Her little brother consoled her after 
his boyish fashion: "Never mind, Bessy; your 
mamma's alive I" One of the servants be- 
thought him of her love for a ride in a wheel- 
barrow, and trundled her about in the open air. 
Thus she forgot her sorrows; for she was too 
young to know the loss she had sustained in the 
premature death of a parent. 

Captain Nodes was a high-minded and con- 
sistent member of the Church of England; and 
from all that the writer can gather of his character, 
he had strong claims upon the affections of his 
child. He had maintained his principles amid 
scenes which presented much temptation; and, 
when surrounded by vicious and profane asso- 
ciates, had never forsaken the paths of truth and 
virtue. If we may judge from his diary, dated 
1762, the army was not at that da^ ^ ^cl»aa^ <^1 
B 2 

4 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

high principle or morality. We are tempted 
to extract a few sentences from this interesting 
document, now in our hands, which show how 
entirely his mind was preserved from con- 
tamination, when surrounded by influences 
the most trying to inexperience and youth. 
They were written at Abrantes, where it appears 
his regiment was then quartered. After describ- 
ing a drinking-party, from which he was 
compelled to retire in consequence of the vio- 
lence of some young officers, — one of whom, 
after they had tried several mad species of 
amusement, even calling for a frying-pan and 
frizzling their watches, had wantonly stabbed 
his own servant, — he says, "Monday, Feb- 
ruary 14th. Drunkenness is our great crime. 

H and F have already destroyed one 

or two in this way. It amazes me to see G 

in this set. His character should be sufficient 
to prevent any man of honour from keeping 
company with him. But if a man wants to be 
respected by the mhs of our regiment, he need 
only practise drinking, lying, swearing, and 
irreligion, and he will not fail of meeting with 
esteem, and being admired for his wit and parts." 
Then follow some reflections upon the vanity 
of life: "These considerations should impress 
upon a man a sense, not only of the frailty and 
uncertainty of his existence, but how dependent 
he is upon a great and good God; — a God who 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 5 

is entitled to all possible returns of duty from 
him, as a Preserver as well as a Creator. We 
concert great schemes for raising ourselves to 
honours, and plume ourselves upon the execu- 
tion of grand designs, which, when seemingly 
ripe for execution, are, by the breaking of a 
single link in the chain, wholly defeated in a 
single day! This, also, is vanity. If a man 
will not wean himself from the world, the 
world will not wean itself from him. He may, 
perhaps, meet with a formal respect from the 
outward world ; but if this is considered in no 
other light than as food for his pride, it is but 
a poor tribute in return for all his mental 
anxiety in obtaining it. Is it not a more 
profitable employment to establish a treasure 
in heaven that faileth not? to devote our short 
span upon earth in seeking to attain the 
mansions of eternal bliss? Let us seek to die 
the death of the righteous : then may we with 
humble confidence trust that we shall arrive at 
the blessed harbour where alone all sorrows 

After his marriage, and during his residence 
at Skelton, Captain Nodes was in the habit of 
spending much of his time in visiting the sick 
and poor. The old Prayer-Book is now before 
me which he carried in his hand in his daily 
walks, as also some of the medical receiijts^ 
according to which he was accxxatoTCL^A. \^ ^'- 

6 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

minister to the sick. His death was occasioned 
by a severe attack of bilious fever. No notice 
has been preserved of anything that occurred 
during his illness; but we cannot doubt that he, 
like many others who do not rightly pronounce 
our shibboleth^ died in the Lord. The following 
paragraph appeared in the York newspaper after 
his decease : — 

" On Friday evening died at Skelton-Hall, 
near this city, universally and deservedly re- 
gretted, John Nodes, Esquire, late of this city, 
Captain in His Majesty's Nineteenth regiment 
of Foot; a gentleman highly respected by all 
who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. His 
death will be severely felt by the industrious in 
his neighbourhood, to whom he made it his 
daily study to be serviceable; and by the poor 
in particular, who have lost a liberal bene- 

Mrs. Nodes was a devoted wife and mother; 
but it seems that she had little sympathy with 
the religious views of her husband. After his 
death she lived in retirement, and appears to 
have lavished her affections and caresses with 
too much indulgence on her son and daughter. 
A widowed sister of her late husband, who at 
this time came to reside with her for a few 
years, soon made the discovery that John and 
Bessy were both " spoiled weans," and per- 
Buaded hex to send them off to school. Bessy 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 7 

was placed under the care of Miss Buckle, who 
kept a school at York. This was another 
grievous trial of her childhood. " I thought," 
she says, in her autobiography, " that I should 
never see mamma again. I could not cry, but 
I used to sit alone and sob convulsively. At 
the end of the week the governess thought it 
best to comply with my request, and allow me 
to go home. A servant took me to Skelton 
in a post-chaise, and I spent the Sunday with 
mamma. I remember now, with deep feeling, 
how she carried me off to her room, lest my 
aunt and another lady-visiter should ridicule 
such sentimental indulgence; — how her tears 
fell upon my neck as I laid my head upon her 
bosom, and how she occasionally glanced at the 
churchyard where my father was buried; — how 
she coaxed and persuaded me to return to 
school, and expressed her wish that I should 
try to be happy there. I promised, and I kept 
my word. I soon forgot my troubles, and 
learned to delight in music and dancing, and in 
teazing my French-master, a poor refugee before 
the first Revolution. Well do I remember, at 
one of our little dancing soirees^ meeting my 
mother's eye among a crowd of smartly- dressed 
ladies, and rushing forward to throw myself into 
her arms, forgetting where I was, till my polite 
dancing-master led me back blushing to m^ 

8 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

At the age of thirteen Bessy was permitted 
to return home, as it was intended that her 
education should be completed at a school at 
Crofton. But it was afterwards arranged that 
her studies should be continued under the 
direction of private masters, and in the com- 
panionship of her cousin, the only daughter 
of the widowed aunt already named. This 
young lady was most happily fitted to be her 
adopted sister; and an intimacy was at once 
formed between the two girls which, though 
they were separated at an early age, to walk in 
different paths, continued unbroken through 
life. The cousin had been but a few months in 
her grave when the earth closed over her sur- 
viving firiend; and they are now, doubtless, 
re-united in the world where separation is 
unknown. The happy associations of their 
girlhood were often referred to by them during 
their long correspondence. No doubt Miss 
Nodes owed much of the vigour of her constitu- 
tion to the sports in which these friends engaged 
in the open air. Young ladies could snow-ball 
each other, it appears, in those days; and play 
with a zest in the garden during a winter's 
frost without bonnet or tippet. Bessy could 
enjoy a merry gallop with her cousin over the 
Yorkshire moors, for twenty or thirty miles 
together, without fatigue. She speaks of riding 
on horseback from jSkelton to Scarborough, of 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 9 

following the hounds with her brother, and 
returning home to drink tea with her mother, 
as if the idea of exhausted nerves and over- 
exertion had never been heard of. On one 
occasion, accompanied by her cousin and Mrs. 
Nodes, she had strolled down to the woods to 
gather nuts. Some one told them that Prince 
George of Wales would pass, with some of his 
attendants, on his way to York. All were 
eager with expectation. Presently they caught 
the sound of horses' hoofs, and a party of gentle- 
men came cantering up. One of them, on 
seeing a lady with her two girls, instantly 
pulled up. After allowing his impatient horse 
to prance and caper until he had gratified their 
loyal curiosity, with a gracefiil wave of his hat 
he dashed off after his laughing companions. 
This was, in fact, the prince himself, as was 
apparent from the bright star shining on his 

About this time her brother John bought a 
commission in the army. The idea of seeing 
him in his scarlet coat pleased Bessy, but was 
not quite in harmony with the feelings of her 
mother. It seems that John had a dangerous 
illness in his infancy; and his father, in an 
agony of grief, rose from his bed, and solemnly 
vowed that if the boy's life were spared, he 
should be devoted to the service of God in the 
Church. It was vain, howevet, to xemoTi^^x'?^ 

10 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

with him. His guardians had consented that he 
should be a soldier ; and a soldier he was resolved 
to become. His regiment was shortly ordered to 
Dublin; and he left home, having previously 
formed a matrimonial engagement with one of 
Bessy's school-mates. 

During his absence his sister was invited to 
spend a season in town. She was just sixteen 
years of age; and the intention was that she 
should see a little of fashionable life in the 
great city before she was " introduced " at home. 
We need not speak of the time spent in pre- 
paring and dressing; or of her intense mortifi- 
cation, after her arrival, on hearing her aunt's 
tittering animadversions upon the character of 
her wardrobe. The mantua-makers at Skelton 
were a little behind the Regent-street Madame 
Elises of that day; and what bonnets, and 
tippets, and " green Josephs" of that unfortunate 
wardrobe had to be sacrificed, or remodelled, 
before Bessy was pronounced to be at all 
"presentable!" This was her first step in 
fashionable folly. 

It seems strange to us, with our railways, 
that a journey from York to London could have 
been attended with hazard so late as the year 
1795. But so it was. Miss Nodes met with 
a little adventure on this occasion which may 
give us a passing glance into the disagreeables 
of the old stage-coach in which our grand- 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 11 

mothers travelled. She left home with her 
mother to pass the night at the " Swan," in 
York; rose at six, and was placed inside the 
coach, under the protection of the guard. Two 
young gentlemen, and a person calling herself 
a " sailor's widow," were her companions. 
One of the gentlemen shortly began to pay 
marked and disagreeable attention to Miss 
Bessy; but she suffered so much from sickness, 
occasioned by the tedious motion of the coach, 
that she scarcely noticed it On the second 
day, however, the other gentleman called her 
aside, and told her to be on her guard; as he 
knew that their companion was trying to 
arrange that she should leave the coach and 
travel alone in a post-chaise with the " sailor's 
widow." At the same time he gave her his 
card, " The Chisholm," and told her to consider 
herself under his protection until her friends 
met her in town. Thus she escaped farther 
molestation. It was three days before she 
reached the inn in London. She was met, at 
length, by her uncle, and her little troubles 
were at an end. 

Miss Nodes spent her time in town much 
like other ladies of her age and position in 
life; going to church on Sunday, with a drive 
in the parks afterwards, and in the ensuing 
week paying a succession of morning visits^ 
and finishing with evening eiv\^T\sC\TvT£\^xsX!5^* 

12 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

She sung, and played, and danced; heard 
the prima donna of that day, and went 
to Ascot races. At Windsor she saw the 
venerable King George and his homely queen, 
with their fine family of sons and daughters; 
and, more than this, she heard him say, as she 
passed on the arm of her uncle, and gazed at 
royalty, "York, York, York! Did ye ever see 
such a fine woman in your life?" No vulgar 
compliment, though her uncle hurried her 
away to the carriage. Some half dozen ad- 
mirers now surrounded her, and to more than 
one of them her hand was nearly engaged. 
But, at last, she returned to Skelton, where she 
was welcomed by her soldier-brother. A 
wedding shortly ensued in the family. Her 
cousin, her early companion, was about to be 
married. Bessy was bridesmaid. As a record 
of old customs, it may be mentioned that 
the bridal-party was met at the gate of their 
rural home by a servant carrying a basket of 
bride-cake. This the bride scattered to the 
crowd, along with a shower of silver. A dinner 
at Thorp-Arch followed; and then the inter- 
esting companion of her girlhood departed 
with her husband, and the two friends did 
not meet again till many bright summers had 

About this period she was introduced to the 
York assemblies by the lady of Sir G • 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 13 

P ; and under her guardianship, as Mrs. 

Nodes still declined to enter into society herself, 
she spent many of her evenings, either at the 
theatre, or some other place of recreation. In 
her own neighbourhood again she received not 
a little attention ; and it was only through a sin- 
gular circumstance that she did not accept the 
hand of a clergyman, a gentleman in affluent 
circumstances, one of the canons, it is believed, 
of the cathedral. After showing his mind in 
various ways, and paying not a little court to 
Miss Nodes, this gentleman asked permission to 
call upon her mother, in order to obtain her con- 
sent to the proposed union. Leave was granted, 
and a day was fixed; for though Miss Nodes 
could scarcely as yet regard him as more than 
a friend, she saw no reason why she might not 
in time indulge a more tender feeling towards 
him. The clock struck, and the suitor was at 
the door of Skelton-Hall according to his ap- 
pointment; but the young lady with her mother 
had wandered down to the river-side. He met 
them in the course of half-an-hour, as they 
returned; when his formal bow, and curt "I 
perfectly understand this, madam," admitted of 
no explanation, and for a time the parties lost 
sight of each other. 

Amid the buoyancy of youth, and the gaieties 
in which she took part, she had not noticed the 
failing health oi her brother, ^u^ vk.^>iXi ^^^ss. 

14 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

soon to throw a shadow over the happy circle at 
Skelton. Mr. John Nodes was becoming daily 
weaker. The deceitful disease, consumption, 
induced, indeed, by his own early follies, 
was fast gaining upon him, though his friends 
fondly closed their eyes to the truth. His fine 
face was growing daily more wan, and his step 
less firm. He read his Prayer-Book, and was 
thoughtful and resigned. This, unfortunately, 
is all we know of his soul's inner life as he 
drew near to the gates of the invisible world. 
The family had retired to rest one night, still 
persuading themselves that he might be spared 
to them, when he died suddenly and alone; 
except that he was attended by one of his men, 
a young Irish soldier, who folded his hands, and 
covered his face with the sheet. 

The mother and sister were overwhelmed 
with grief. They sat for long days brooding 
over their loss. The summer's sun and the 
sweet melodies of nature — the singing of the 
birds, and the gentle rustle of the trees around 
the house in the breeze — only oppressed them. 
"I have known grief," says Mrs. Newton 
in her diary, "but never grief like that." Yet 
she felt she must rouse herself to attend to her 
mother, whose health also for a time threatened 
to give way. The sorrow of both seemed hopeless ; 
but after a short interval of mourning they re- 
paired to ScarhoTOUghy where their spirits appear 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 16 

to have revived a little. A year passed away. 
Miss Nodes had resumed her usual gaiety, and 
had entered into her accustomed pursuits. But 
still they felt lonely; and began to think of a 
change of residence, in the hope that freshness 
of scene might help them to forget their loss. 
They decided to leave Skelton; and, after 
spending the winter in town, to fix themselves 
in the neighbourhood of Ludlow, where they had 
then some distant relatives. 

Another visit to London was accordingly 
arranged, and another wardrobe prepared, with, 
we suppose, more success. The boxes were 
already forwarded, and the furniture of the 
house was partially packed : Mrs. Nodes 
and her daughter only stayed to go into the 
quiet churchyard, and take a last look at the 
grave of their beloved John in the church. But 
now, a new era in her life commenced; and an 
event occurred which was destined to influence 
the whole character of her future history, 
giving a totally diflFerent direction to her 
hopes and purposes. While she was planning 
with her mother how she could pleasantly trifle 
away the priceless life which God had given 
her, it pleased Him, in His goodness, to point 
out to her the true and living way to that 
blessed home which, we may venture to hope, 
her departed brother had found in his lonely 
hours. A light was now iiamg ^\i\OcL ^wS^l^ 

16 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

cheer her path through a long life, and " melt 
at last into the light of heaven." 

A widow lady was an occasional visiter in the 
neighbourhood of Skelton, whose son-in-law 
was, at this time, the non-resident rector of the 
parish. She was noticed for the singular plain- 
ness of her dress, and for her mixing little with 
the society around her ; lodging at a farm-house 
occupied by one of her tenants, a Methodist, 
and spending her time in quiet home occupa- 
tions. Mrs. P was a Moravian, the inti- 
mate friend of La Trobe, and many others 
whose names have long been household words 
in the church. Her granddaughter, afterwards 

Lady Ann Gr , was with her on the occasion 

of this visit, and introduced her to Miss Nodes, 
who appeared to be interested in her pleasing 
conversation. A short time before they left 

Skelton Mrs. P called to ask, as she said, 

" a favour." She wished Miss Nodes to use her 
influence with the curate to allow a gentleman, 
" a regularly-ordained clergyman," she said, to 
" take the duty" some Sunday evening at Skelton 
church. Miss Nodes wondered she had not 
made the request to her own son-in-law, and 
that the stranger-clergyman should desire to 
take the " duty" for his own gratification. She 

did not then know that Mrs. P was called 

a " Methodistj^ — a term of reproach which, at 
Hbab time^ was hurled indiscriminately at all 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 17 

earnest religious people ; and that, as such, she had 
little influence with her son-in-law. The request 
was easily granted, however. The curate gave 
his permission, and the Rev. Mr. Michison was 
invited to officiate on the following Sunday 
evening. It is not surprising that Miss Nodes, 
after seeing that lights were provided in the 
church, which had never before been lighted for 
public worship in the memory of the oldest in- 
habitant of the .village, determined to go there 
herself that night, and hear this stranger-clergy- 
man. It was a still autumnal evening as she 
passed in the sombre hour of twilight the grave, 
within the pew, of her beloved brother. As the 
service proceeded she became deeply interested 
in the energetic manner of the new preacher. 
A hymn was sung. As a substitute for " Stern- 
hold and Hopkins," Mr. Michison introduced 
the now well-known hymn of Charles Wesley, — 

" Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness," &c. 

The sermon was, it is believed, from the second 
verse of the twelfth chapter of Isaiah : " Behold, 
God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be 
afraid." Miss Nodes left the church with new 
and altered purposes. She was surprised, — was 
anxious. She was perplexed; and begged that 
the journey to London might be postponed, and 

that Mrs. P would request Mr. Michison to 

visit Skelton again. ^^ I thowgiit,'' ^"^ ^'^yWj^ 

18 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

her friend, " that I was very good before; but 
this preacher thought otherwise of us all. I 
believed I was perfectly righteous, as far as 
human nature permitted. I used to read a 
prayer night and morning. I attended church 
regularly, once on the Sunday; and I believed 
I had as good a heart as any of my ac- 

Mr. Michison came again; and Miss Nodes 
thus describes the effect of his. second sermon 
upon herself: "I thought that everything he 
said was levelled at my own heart. The word 
came with power. Before I went to church I 
had been afiraid of exciting the ridicule of my 
acquaintance if I yielded to my new convic- 
tions ; but such fears fled before the power of 
truth. Kneeling down in the church, I vowed 
that if God would show me the right way, I 
would forsake all for Christ's sake. I returned 
home, and found a party of friends at the house, 
talking on indifferent subjects. I wondered they 
could think of anything but their own souls. 
I longed to be alone; and, when I could retire 
to my own room, I poured forth my feelings 
before God. I no longer sought to merit the 
pardon of sin, but implored it for Christ's sake. 
I did not venture to tell anyone of what was 
passing in my mind, as I had never heard of 
anyone feeling like myself. I had never heard 
of ^ conversion,^ — of the ^new birth.' I knew 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 19 

not what to ask God for; but my constant 
prayer was for the Holy Spirit, which I knew 
was promised to those that sought Him. I now 
began to read the New Testament, to see if these 
things were so. I threw away my songs, and 
gave up my old amusements; — not because I 
thought them wrong, but because I no longer 
found pleasure in them. I often experienced 
great pleasure in prayer, but never retained it 
long. At length, after reading the twelfth chap- 
ter of Isaiah, I enjoyed such inward peace as 
the saints of Christ can only imagine. With 
humble confidence I looked up to God as a re- 
conciled Father. From that blessed hour every- 
thing I saw, or heard, or read, appeared different. 
I felt the comfort of possessing a salvation 
through faith alone. The plan of redemption, 
through Christ, seemed so suited to my case, 
that it filled me with astonishment and love ! 

For some months I enjoyed ' a heaven 

below ; ' but I soon found that I had a battle to 
fight, and that life must be a warfare." 

From this date the story of her life is told in 
a collection of papers, forming a voluminous diary. 
Itis arecord of daily experience, a highly interest- 
ing autobiography, in fact ; from which, however, 
we shall here make but brief selections. We 
may anticipate that the much talked of journey 
to London was abandoned. Mrs. Nodes kindly 
yielded to ]ier daughter's wish, to Q.o\i\lvcLN^a ^ 

20 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Skelton, although, it must be confessed, she was 
sorry to see the sudden change in her character. 
Mr. Michison formed her acquaintance, and 
recommended her to read Doddridge's "Eise 
and Progress of Eeligion in the Soul," and Eo- 
maine's " Walk of Faith ;" at the same time giv- 
ing her encouragement and advice. Mr. Heming- 
ton, the vicar of Thorp-Arch, also called upon 
her; and from his sympathy and instructive 
conversation she derived much benefit This 
gentleman was as eccentric as her friend Mr. 
Michison. He used to ride to Skelton church 
to take an evening-service after the completion 
of his own duties, and then canter back in the 
dark, with a carriage-lamp strapped to each 
boot On one occasion he told her that his 
irregularity had often offended the archbishop, 
(the late Dr. Markham,) and that he had said to 
him, " I will take your gown from you, Hem- 
ington, if you are not more careful !" to which he 
had answered the good-humoured prelate, " Very 
well, your Grace ; I can preach without it, you 
know, I have so often tried." Miss Nodes once 
consulted him on the subject of her old associates. 
She wanted to know how she was to shut out 
her irreligious acquaintance, and avoid con- 
formity to the world. Mr. Hemington laughed 
at her fears. " Go on as you do, and there is not 
one of them that will come near you." The 
sequel showed that his judgment was right 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 21 

Her relatives, indeed, remonstrated with her ; 
and for a time she was haunted with the fear 
that her guardian might induce her mother to 
place her in a lunatic asylum. But she was 
soon left to follow out what they believed her 
career of " fanaticism ;" while Mrs. Nodes, with 
tears in her eyes, would say, " Do anything, 
my child, that will make you happy." But she 
received one letter of remonstrance at this time 
which, though somewhat harsh, is worthy of 
notice. It was from an aunt, the wife of a 
clergyman, who begged her to consider that 
duty required her " to remember the feelings of 
others, to exercise a wholesome spirit of self- 
denial in the choice of her companions, as there 
were ties of blood and affinity as well as bonds 
of Christian brotherhood ; and that perhaps it 
might become her to pause, before she com- 
mitted herself to any eccentric course of conduct, 
lest the tempter might beguile her, and she 
should be led on by the love of display rather 
than the love of God." But her niece had 
escaped from the world's enthralling bondage, 
and could not understand the caution of any 
who would, however judiciously, warn her against 
extremes. Perhaps, she did run into some little 
extravagances at this early part of her religious 
career; but they were rather attributable to her 
enthusiastic natural temperament, than to the 
influence of relig-ion itself. ¥\ix:t\ieit ^x^^x\^^^»5i 

22 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

sobered down anything that was distasteful to 
others, until there was developed in her, under 
the Divine teaching, a character remarkable for 
its Christian simplicity and retiring home- 

We now see the young convert assembling the 
village people to prayers in the hall at Skelton, 
that she might teach, read, and pray with them 
on the Sunday evening. All is changed in the 
old. house. Her favourite horse is sold, and his 
mistress has doflfed the scarlet riding-habit for 

the sober livery of her friend Mrs. P . The 

spinnet is still heard in the oak-panelled 
dining-room ; but the voice of song is the voice 
of praise in psalms and spiritual hymns. Miss 
Nodes rises at six o'clock that she may visit the 
sick and poor ; then she returns to read and pray 
with the servants. Her breakfast is despatched 
in a spirit of self-denial worthy of Ignatius 
Loyola; not that she believes in the merit of 
self-sacrifice, but that she may more abundantly 
minister to the wants of others. Thus, the day 
passes ; and before the close of evening she 
invites the young girls to the house to talk to 
them about God, and Christ, and eternity, — the 
assembly being dismissed with a hymn, which 
she has herself composed. William, the old 
man-servant, who has followed her father and 
her brother to the grave, brings in his violin, 
and ^ccomj)anies the young voices with some 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 23 

qnaint tune, familiar at the time, and often to 
the following words : — 

" Vain world ! I courted once thy smiles, 
Was led a captive in thy toils, 

Kor saw nor felt my chain ; 
When lo ! a ray of heavenly light 
Reveal*d to my astonish'd sight 

My misery and pain. 

" His love with confidence inspired, 
And all my soul with ardour fired, 

To walk the sacred road ; 
To tread the steps Christ trod before, 
To glory in the cross He bore. 
And only live to God ! " 

The extracts from her diary about this date 
display the ardour of her devotion and zeal. 
"Happily, happily doth this month open upon me I 
Bright are my prospects, fervent my hopes, joyful 
my heart Be Thou, Lord, for ever my delight. 
Bitter to my taste be every object that would 
alienate my affections from Thee, my sole 
source of inward joy ! Let nothing share the heart 
where Thou alone shouldst dwell. Let earthly 
love be but one little ray compared with what I 
feel for Thee. boundless mercy I infinite 
love! Eely wholly upon God, my soul; 
and trust in the merits of thy glorious Advocate, 
in whom thou canst stand secure amid the 
tumult of temptation and of passion. Each 
moment I experience some renewed token of 
the Lord's favour and fatherly pTotec\A.oTv^ ^\AY 

24 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

joyfully leave my all in His hands. I tremble 
when I look at my own weakness ; but I feel 
strong in His all-sufficient might. that I 
may be made an instrument of good to the 

souls of others I" 

* * * Ik 

She visited her Moravian friends at Fulneck 
this year, and was permitted to attend a 
" single sisters' " lovefeast. The seclusion 
and quiet of the settlement were in harmony 
with her taste; and she speaks of it as 
"heaven upon earth." But her attachment to 
the Church in which she had been brought up 
was then too strong to allow her to think of 
joining any other religious community. She 
had, however, consulted Mr. Hemington on 
the propriety of attending the Methodist 
"meeting-house." He did not object to it, 
considering the Methodists of that day as a 
society within the Church, rather than a distinct 
body of Christians. About this time she 
happened, in her visits amongst the poor, to 
meet with a sewing-girl in the village who was 
a Methodist, with whom she eagerly entered 
into conversation. She had heard of the 
Methodists through her Moravian friend 

Mrs. P , who spoke of them with affection 

and interest. The account of the death of John 
Wesley she had read in a newspaper, when she 
was a child. On asking her mother who he 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 25 

was, and what " Methodists " were, she was 
told " they were good sort of people ; but that 
they thought it their duty to run about praying 
and preaching, and neglecting their families." 
With this people, however, she was now about 
to become better acquainted. The sewing-girl, 
as Miss Nodes afterwards learned, was by no 
means a fair example of the Society to which 
she belonged; but she said that there was an 
old man amongst them "who preached like 
St. Paul," mentioning also a young one, who, 
as described by her, must have deserved the 
designation of a " Son of Thunder." "And 
how do they live ? " asked Miss Nodes. " They 
go from house to house where they take in 
preachers," said the girl ; addingj " Mr. Burd- 
sall will preach at meeting next time." Miss 
Nodes determined to hear " St. Paul," as he 
had been described to her, on the following 
Sunday. As to the earnest and popular young 
minister, of whose talents she had heard such 
a glowing description, we believe she dis- 
missed all idea of either seeing or hearing him, 
albeit he was destined hereafter to influence so 
largely her future life. It is evident that the 
thought of marriage was at this time distant 
from her mind. 

The Rev. G — C — desired, indeed, to renew 
the former intimacy, after hearing of her altered 
character ; but his proposal was fiTmly , t\Y^^\.^ 


26 Life of Mrs. .Newton. 

politely, declined. " She would never marry : 
her resolution was fixed :" and thus the inter- 
course finally terminated. " Let not any 
create*d being come between my soul and Thee, 
glorious Saviour," was the language of her 
heart, as expressed in her diary of this date. 
" 0, my Lord, from what an abyss of misery 
hast Thou delivered me I Let my soul ever 
aspire after Thee, its proper centre." .... "I 
desire the glory of God supremely." 

JThe person who had been canonized by one 
of his hearers as another St. Paul was a 
Methodist exhorter or " local preacher." He 
kept, it is said, a small shop at the corner of 
Micklegate, York. But whatever his earthly 
occupation, he was a servant of God, who 
lived in the spirit of apostolic Christianity, — 
a man of faith and prayer, and a worthy repre- 
sentative of a race of village-preachers that we 
trust will never die out in Methodism. He 
knew nothing of book-learning, save what he 
found in that one Book, which is the fountain 
of heavenly wisdom ; but God had trained him 
for His service, and endowed him with gifts 
passing the power of human culture to impart. 
Those were days of moral darkness, both in 
the world and in the Established Church. 
Mr. Burdsall, or " Dicky Burdsall," as he was 
usually called, had no prescribed district in 
which he pursued his Master's work. He went 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 27 

from hamlet to hamlet, preaching the kingdom 
of Grod, wherever he could obtain a room in a 
cottage. Sometimes his quaint figure might 
be seen rising above the heads of a motley 
crowd on the village-green, calling sinners to 
repentance. He was not a stranger at Skelton, 
though Miss Nodes had never heard his name 
mentioned. In her infancy he had applied to 
Captain Nodes for leave to open a chapel or 
" meeting " there, but had been denied ; 
although, as the old man afterwards told her, 
" I'll be bound his heart was with us ; for he 
turned about, and could not look me in the 
face when he said me * nay.' " 

Some years after Captain Nodes's death, per- 
mission was obtained, through the influence of 
Mrs. P — , we believe; and it was to this 
"meeting" that Miss Nodes went to hear 
Mr. Burdsall. His homely sermon made a 
great impression upon her. The earnestness of 
his manner was heightened by his simple, broad, 
Yorkshire dialect He spoke as "a dying man 
to dying men ; " and when the little company 
rose at the close of the service, and joined in 
singing the hymn ending with — 

" We then shall meet to part no more," 

overwhelmed by her feelings, she sank into her 

seat weeping aloud. She was thinking of her 

brother John, hoping that in hia aoWXa^^ %\m^ 

D 2 

28 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

of the New Testament he had found rest in the 
love of the same blessed Saviom* in whom she 
now trusted. Her last interview with him 
recurred to her memory, when he asked her to 
write down the names of those to whom he 
wished to send some token of affection after 
he was gone ; and she was ready to reproach 
herself for having hurried from! the room, 
unable to bear the idea of separation. Had 
she remained, and ventured to converse with 
him, might she not have learned that the 
secret of his resignation was his reliance 
upon the Lord Jesus Christ ? 

When about to leave, Mr. Burdsall took her 
hand in both of his, saying, with a fervour and 
solemnity sh6 never forgot, " The Lord bless 
you I" 

She returned home to beg that Mrs. Nodes 
would allow her to invite this servant of God 
to the house; to which consent was reluctantly 
given. From this time Mr. Burdsall became 
her spiritual adviser and valued friend. His 
advanced age had given him wisdom, and his 
deep devotional feeling fitted him to appreciate 
her earnestness and religious fervour. 

A pious lady, who attended the ministry of 
the Rev. — Richardson, at York, now called 
upon her, and requested her '^ to unite herself 
with their private religious meetings, and en- 
deavour to attend Mr. Richardson's church as 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 29 

often^as she conveniently could." Miss Nodes 
asked if he " would forbid her to attend the 
Methodist meetings;" to which the lady re- 
plied, injudiciously we think, that he would. 
"Then I cannot join his church," was the 
decided answer : " I have few opportunities of 
hearing the truth ; and I could not bear to give 
up my occasional attendance at the * meeting.'" 
She steadily refused to take a Society-ticket, 
however, or openly identify herself with the 
Methodists ; being still warmly attached to the 
Church of England, and as yet unable to 
realise the great truth that Christ's Holy 
Catholic Church is one in Him, united in the 
bonds of a mystic fellowship, — that as there is 
" one Lord, one faith, one baptism," so there 
is but one living Christian family, in heaven 
and earth. Hichard Burdsall was not a little 
pleased with her resolution. " Mr. Eichardson 
is a true man of God," said he, — for he was no 
bigot, — " but he is no'but stiff, and, may-be, 
* thou would be hindered in thy usefulness, my 
lass;" (for after this plain fashion did he 
invariably address the young convert ;) " yet I 
love the man dearly. I met him t'other day 
in a back-street in York, doing the Master's 
work. I said, * Bless you, Brother Eichard- 
son ! Give us a wag of thy hand here, in this 
back-street : there's nobody here '11 see \ia^ ^\v<i 
we are Gghting under the same Ca-j^aiiir 
D 3 

30 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Miss Nodes^s interest in the Methodislg in- 
creased as she continued to attend their ser- 
vices, so that even her friend Mr. Hemington, 
whose catholic spirit seems to have been at 
that time remarkable, remonstrated with her. 
" Go to hear their preachers occasionally," he 
advised; " but do not J(?m the Society. Their 
care for you will decrease when they think you 
are one of them, and they will lose sight of 
you when they conceive you are safe :" and for 
a. time she yielded to him. 

A severe accident now befell her, which con- 
fined her for some months to a sick room. She 
was walking to the neighbouring village of 
Shipton, to attend the afternoon service in the 
church, and hear her first religious instructer, 
Mr. Michison, when, in climbing a gate, she 
fell, and broke her leg. She was carried back 
to the Hall in a fainting state. The weather 
was unusually hot, and in her pain and weari- 
ness she thought there was a probability that 
she might die. This filled her with ecstatic 
joy, and caused her to long for her departure. 
" 0, to be at rest," she exclaimed, " to be ever 
with the Lord I to be permitted to join the 
choirs of angels and archangels before the 
throne I " The following passages in her diary 
were written at this date : — 

"Dull, tedious, and insipid to me are the 
hours or moments spent without opportunity of 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 31 

intercourse with my Maker. With you, ye 
blessed throng, who are continually before the 
throne, ascribing glory to Him that sitteth 
upon it, and to the ^ Lamb slain from the 
foundation of the world,' — ^with you, I would 
join my humble tribute of thanksgiving ! ^ 
magnify the Lord with me,' ye saints and 
servants of the Lord; ^let us magnify His 
name together.' I lay in darkness, and in the 
shadow of death, when, lo ! a heavenly voice 
called me to joy and light. Trembling, I 
obeyed ; but, ah, the sweets of love Divine ! the 
length and breadth which still I hope to prove I 
True, a thousand dangers threaten ; but what 
are they to me ? My strength is Omnipotence 
itself. My * times are in His hands' who 
created all things, and by whom all things 
consist. Shout and sing, ye troubled souls of 
the earth ; your Captain fights for you, and our 
victory will be divine. With such a Leader 
shall we shrink ? 

' Fearless each enemy we*ll brave, 
Smile at death's sting, defy the grave, 
Burst every bond, through Him, and rise 
To meet Him in the flaming skies.' 

" I have chosen Thee, holy Jesus, as my 
heart's portion. I pant to do Thy will. 0, let 
me ever love and adore Thee!" She shortly 
recovered^ and thus describes Taet fecb\v[i^%\ — 

32 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

" Welcome, sweet angel of returning Health ! 
Dearer than earthly honours, or than wealth ; 
Dearest of joys mortality can prove, 
Dearer than all but my Redeemer's love I 
And yet, thou sweet, thou soul-enlivening guest. 
Reluctantly, I hail thee to my breast ! 
Had thy gay form a little longer fled 
The cold embraces of a sinking bed, 
These eyes had now in other scenes explored 
Regions of aerial light, and seen the Lord ! 
Yet, gentle foe, I welcome thee again. 
And smile, though still a captive in life's chain. — 
I take thee as a boon my Lord has given. 
Though I would fain resign thee^ for a call to heaven." 

Several otlier poetical pieces, expressive of 
her intense desire to "depart and be with 
Christ," were evidently written during her 
confinement to her room and convalescence. 
The one subjoined was on her going to Com- 
munion, and is headed, " Written previous to 
going to the Lord's table.'* 

" A helpless creature goes to meet 
And worship at her Saviour's feet ; 
Nay, more, she goes to share the board. 
And hold communion with her Lord ! 
His flesh the meat, the drink His blood. 
Banquet divine, the Spirit's food ! 
0, come, blest Lord, my soul prepare, 
To meet Thy gracious presence there ! " 

She adds, " Now I am Thine, and Thou art 

mine, my rest and my inheritance, my soul's 

portion! Cast out every earthly object, and 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 33 

consecrate me to Thyself. Can this heart 
ever throw off its allegiance to Thee ? What 
misery is the thought! But, no, it cannot 

be Where is there an allurement 

capable of withdrawing thy affections from the 
source of all happiness ? 

** My soaring soul would rise to Thee, 
Kise to a bless'd eternity ! 
Would sigh away this fleeting breath. 
And bare this breast to welcome death." 

There was a religious service held at York, 
in the spring of the year 1802, in connexion 
with the annual District-Meeting. Miss Nodes 
was invited by her worthy friend " Dicky 
Burdsall" to "hear preaching;" and, hoping 
to meet there a pious Methodist, a lady then 
residing at the village of Alne, she determined, 
if possible, to be present in the afternoon. She 
went accordingly; and now followed events 
that seem to belong rather to the domain of 
romance than of sober truth. She was seated 
in a pew in the front of the gallery, in company 
with the lady whom she had met, and, lost in 
deep devotional feeling, was endeavouring to 
enter into the spirit of the service. An in- 
voluntary impression, however, came over her, 
that, despite her choice of a single life, if she 
raised her eyes she would see her fiiture 
husband. The feeling was repressed, but it re- 
turned. She at length raised k^i e^<i^«j *Y^^*^ "^ 

34 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

a tall young man, attired in the style of an 
English yeoman, walked hurriedly from the 
chapel-door to the vestry. He took no part in 
the religious service; and she drove home in 
the evening without seeing him again, or 
hearing of him. 

In the course of a day or two Mr. Burdsall 
sent a message, asking her to a small " tea- 
drinking" with two or three of the " stranger- 
preachers." Miss Nodes would gladly have 
accepted this invitation, but Mrs. Nodes 
objected. " My dear," she said, " it is not 
proper that you should meet any society that 
Mr. Burdsall should please to invite. I should 
not like you to hurt the old man^s feelings ; 
but I will drive to York with you, and call and 
explain that you have an engagement." They 
called together, and were ushered into a 
little back-parlour. There were assembled 
Mr. Burdsall himself, Mrs. Burdsall, their 
daughter, and one or two more; and with 
them, no other than the young minister 
Miss Nodes had seen at the chapel. This was 
Egbert Newton, at that time a Methodist 
preacher residing at Pocklington. Mrs. Nodes 
made her apology for declining the invitation 
sent to her daughter, and was about to retire ; 
— " But we were just going to prayers," said 
Mrs. Burdsall; "and, surely, you would not 
lunder Miss Nodes from joining us before you 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 35 

Icave.^ She " thought," to u»e her own wordH, 
" these good people would think her very 
wicked if she did ;" and Hhe consented to stay. 
^^ Let us sing a hymn/' said Mr. Newton ; and 
he began the verse, " Away, my needless 
fears," accompanying the party with his deep 
bass to a familiar tune. The young preacher 
then prayed. On rising to take leave. Miss 
Nodes stei>ped forward, saying, " We live by 
begging at Skelton, Mr. Newton ; and shall be 
grateful if you will give us a sermon on some 

Mr. Newton called at Skelton the following 
morning. He was introduced by Mr. Burdsall, 
and took a service in the " meeting-house " in 
the evening. He had no other interview with 
Miss Nodes until after he had offered her his 
hand and heart 

Those who remember anything of Robert 
Newton will not think we judge partially when 
we say that few have possessed his rare natural 
gifts. In person he was remarkably handsome ; 
but the charm of his manner, — his easy carriage, 
his musical voice, and agreeable conversation, 
can only be imagined by those who enjoyed his 
personal friendship. He was the third son of 
a i>lain Yorkshire farmer. In youth he was 
thoughtless and giddy ; but, under the teaching 
of the Methodists, • especially that of his 
giflxxl sister, Mary, he was ear\y \e*SL \a SJ^a 

36 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

knowledge of the truth, and became a preacher. 
His first sermon was delivered in a cottage, not 
far from his birthplace, on the sea-coast. He 
soon displayed indications of talent, and in 
1799 was called to the Methodist ministry. 
From the beginning of his career, he was 
useful and beloved. He left his father's house 
for his first Circuit, Pocklington, with only a 
horse and a pair of saddle-bags. Before he 
had ridden across the bleak moor, on the 
Whitby coast, he dismounted, overpowered with 
a sense of the responsibility of his new office 
as a preacher of the Gospel. There, kneeling 
down in the wild solitude, he poured out his 
soul before God, and invoked His help. The 
sphere of his labour embraced a great number 
of agricultural villages, extending to the 
Yorkshire wolds. To these he was accustomed 
to ride, taking up his abode at some farm- 
house or cottage-homestead where the people 
" took in preachers." In few of these places 
was there any stated house of worship, and he 
preached in barns, or in cottage-kitchens, in 
workshops, or in the open air ; and crowds of 
villagers fiocked to listen, of whom not a few 
learned to put away the evil of their doings 
and to follow Christ. 

At the time of his meeting with Miss Nodes, 
Mr. Newton was in his nineteenth year. The 
^^ course of their love " did" not always " run 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 37 

smooth," as may be imagined. Mrs. Nodes 
objected to the proposed union. Her uncle 
and guardian wrote a severe and alarming 
letter, which gave Miss Nodes much uneasi- 
ness. On different grounds, her kind coun- 
sellor, Mr. Hemington, rode over to Skelton to 
remonstrate with her. "I hear," he said, 
" that you are likely to be connected with the 
Methodists ; to be intimately connected with 
them." Miss Nodes owned at once that the 
rumour was in accordance with facts, but 
assured him she should remain an attached 
member of the Church of England. " 1 dare 
say you think so ; and Mr. New ton may be of 
your opinion at present. But remember 
Methodism is in its infancy : it is now a sect 
within the Church ; but it will soon become a 
separate and distinct body, and young men of 
another generation will rise up and form 
another communion of Dissenters." Miss 
Nodes, however, held fast to her own opinion ; 
and to his parting observation, " It is very likely 
this marriage may never take place, after all," 
she firmly replied, " It will not be my fault 
if it does not" Mr. Hemington continued his 
intimacy with her after she became Mrs. New- 
ton, and on more than one occasion invited her 
husband to preach in his own school-room at 
Thorp- Arch. 
Mr. Burdsall, her other spixVtwaY aAm&^^^^v^ 

38 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

all in his power, on the contrary, to encourage 
Mr. Newton and herself in the course on which 
they had resolved. " My lad," said he, " I 
would marry her if we were both turned out of 
doors in rags 1" And when Miss Nodes came 
to him with her scruples and difficulties about 
leaving the Church of England, he had his own 
way of silencing her : '' Thou canst not over- 
throw the Lord's work. What hast thou to do 
with the future ?" She at length joined the 
Methodist Society. On this she remarks, 
<^ Though tremblingly, I took a ticket, and 
joined the Society previous to our union ; not 
wishing to have any feeling of difference as to 
our duties, and imder the most sacred vows of 
my own heart, relying on God's help, to be an 
aid and not a hindrance to His servant. Since 
then many have been my failures; but I have not, 
I trust, willingly deviated from the solemn cove- 
nant I then made with my merciful Redeemer." 
The year preceding her marriage was one of 
great religious activity. She went about from 
cottage to cottage, talking to the villagers of 
God's love and mercy. Mr. Newton was, of 
course, often with her ; and it would appear 
from her diary that she was afraid lest her 
affection for him should encroach too much 
upon the time she had devoted to God. 
" Alas I" she complains, " am I not setting an 
idol on Thy throne ? Am I not in danger of 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 39 

forsaking the living fountains of waters, that I 
may drink deep of earth's broken cistern ? Mr. 
N — was with me to-day ; and I had to reproach 
myself with vain and unprofitable thoughts, 
with spiritual languor. 0, when wilt Thou 
comfort me !" She made known her feelings 
to her kind adviser, Mr. Hemington, and was 
encouraged by his reply: " God deals thus with 
His own children. Depravity daily unfolds 
itself to us, as we are able to bear the sight of 
it. We could not at first bear to see ourselves 
as we are in God's sight ; but in proportion as 
we grow in grace, and loathe ourselves, Christ 
appears altogether lovely. By a continual 
application to Him for His promised help, we 
shall be enabled to maintain the conflict, even 
to the end." They united in prayer, and her 
heart joined in the excellent minister's request 
that, " whatever became of her in this world, 
she might enjoy the smile of God, and be led 
by Him through life unto salvation." Another 
page in the diary, and we find her thus allud- 
ing to the letters of her intended husband : 
" I never write to Mr. Newton, or open his 
letters, without previous prayer ; nor do I often 
open them without finding an answer to prayer 
in the contents. It was peculiarly so this even- 
ing. I fell on my knees, and with tears 
adored the goodness of God for His continued 
care over him, and for the hope t\ia\.N?^ ^<3KiS^ 

40 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

be helps to each other in the way to eternal life. 
I went afterwards to church, and at the table of 
the Lord asked Him to order my goings, and 
to accept the dedication I made of myself to 
His service. I felt a sweet confidence that I 
should behold one day that Redeemer, whose 
love I was commemorating, to dwell with Him 
for ever. We had a singing-meeting in the 
evening, and my soul seemed to rest on ' the 
Rock of Ages."" 

Again : " I received a letter from Mr. Newton. 
The Lord is confirming His work with him, and 
he thinks he is making progress in the Divine 
life. 0, how shall I adore the Disposer of 
events, who has power to make us helps to 
each other I " — ^We may imagine her walking to 
class on the eve of the same day, as appears 
from the diary, to meet her venerable friend 
Mr. Burdsall, and listening to his quaint 
admonitions. On the fly-leaf of the manuscript 
from which we have extracted these sentences, 
there is an entry in a hand-writing unknown to 
the writer of this narrative : " Ah, spare your 
idol ; think him human still. Charms he may 
have, but he has frailties too. Doat not too 
much, nor spoil what you admire." No doubt the 
hand which penned these words has now long 
crumbled into dust ; and whether the caution 
was given by Mr. Hemington, or faithful Mr. 
BurdaaYiy we cannot decide. 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 41 

A considerable interval intervened between 
her engagement with Mr. Newton and her 
marriage. The whole of their correspondence 
during this period has been preserved. We pass 
over the earlier letters, and transcribe some of 
the passages which refer not only to their rela- 
tion to each other, but to the church in whose 
prosperity they both felt so deep an interest 

Mil Newton to Miss Nodes. 

" Hmdm, June V^th^ 1801. 

" You ask whether the thoughts of past plea- 
sure give more pain or enjoyment to the mind? 
I think this depends upon circumstances. If 
the pleasure we have enjoyed be for ever gone, 
the retrospect will be painful. But if we have 
reason to expect that the same circumstances 
will occur again, and we may hope to judge of 
the future by the past, our reflections of the 
past must be agreeable. My imagination is 
fertile enough to unite past and present, and 
fancy seems to realise the absent. How 
delightful is friendship when it is cemented by 
mutual sympathy and sanctified by genuine 
piety I Let us press towards the mark, keeping 
the prize in view and the promised land. We 
are strangers and pilgrims here : let us aspire 
after our native heaven. — ^As Mr. Burdsall will 
be with you on the Thursday, I will defer my 
visit to the Taesday." 


42 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

{Not dated,'] 
'^ How often during my late attack [of 
measles, attended with considerable danger, 
owing to the symptoms of putrid fever dis- 
played] did I think of you! It seemed as if, 
were you only with me, and my work was done, 
I should have no desire to stay. In what a 
light did I see the world in those moments I A 
stately bark on dangerous seas, or a mole- 
hill, and its eager inhabitants like so many 
ants swarming about it I I saw and felt 
religion in a clearer manner than I had ever 
done before. 'Virtue has majesty in death.' 
My mind was much affected by hearing the 
people in the town inquiring constantly if I 
was likely to get better. I thought, ' What am 
I, that they feel so much interest in a poor 
worm ?' What a poor loiterer I have been in 
the Lord's vineyard I — how little have I done 
for Him ! May He help me to live more for 
eternity. Ere long the curtain will be drawn 
aside, and the wall will break away that sepa- 
rates earth from heaven. 

* Faith lends her realising light. 
The clouds disperse.*" 

The next letter is dated, 

" Leedsy July 31st. 

" I HAVE been in Leeds three or four days. 

We had a capital sermon from Mr. Henry 

Moore. I wish you had heard him. I have 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 43 

heard many of my brethren preach ; and I have 
also seen the words of the inspired writer veri- 
fied, ' The fear of man bringeth a snare.' The 
brethren are assembling." 

This letter was evidently written from the 
Leeds Conference chapel, in 1801. 

"My dear Mend's welcome letter," Miss 
Nodes says, in her answer, — dated " Skelton, 
August 3d, 1801," — "was brought to me this 
morning; and havingbeen asked 'my commands 
in Leeds,' I gladly avail myself of replying 
immediately. While with your fathers and 
brethren in Christ, may your soul be stored with 
Divine knowledge, and filled with ' the fulness 
of God 1' I need not say I shall be glad to see 
and hear you at Skelton on your return. Our 
villagers are suchagood sort of people, they need 
no reformation ! Alas, how the heart deceives 
itself! To-morrow I am going to Friby. I 
have not had the opportunity of conversing with 

Mrs. W since my change of sentiments, and 

I go very unwillingly. You will pray for me." 

" Mb. Johnson spent the afternoon with us 
this day last week, and preached in the evening. 
The time passed away delightfully. My mind, 
since we parted, has been stayed much upon 
God, and my soul aspires to a continual inter- 
course with its Eedeemer. SlVW \e^ \^s. ^^^^^^ 

44 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

on, strong in His might, despising every impedi- 
ment and every difficulty. Our military friend, 
whom you saw here, frequently calls upon us, so 
frequently as to be rather painftd to me ; for I am 
sure it would not be to the credit of your Bessy 
could it be supposed that the attention of a gay 
man of the world gave her pleasure. But God 
can bring good out of apparent evil. I am 
never an hour in such company without sighing 
for the society of those whose conversation can 
administer edification and delight Need I tell 
you whose is capable of doing this ?" 

The gentleman she refers to as a " military 

friend " was Captain D , who had long paid 

her the most persevering attention. We believe 
it was on the occasion of his last visit to Skelton 
that he begged her to sing one of her old songs, 
at the close of the Sunday evening. For 
a long time shereftised, but at length, yielding 
to his persuasion, she adapted the words of a 
hymn she had herself composed to the tune of 

the song he had asked for. Captain D 

was affected to tears. The hymn was expres- 
sive of the happiness to be found in religion, as 
compared with the fancied enjoyments of time 
and this world. It ran thus : — 

"^ I ^lad bid adieu to this world's fleeting pleasures, 
And seek in Eeligion the joys slie coiiveys, 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 45 

If you knew how my heart finds delight in her treasures, 
Would you bid me resign them ? 
Ah, never! ah, no ! " ^. 

" Skelton, Septerrnber 2d, 1801. 
" How valuable is the privilege of conveying 
our thoughts to the absent ! When I take up 
my pen to address my friend, surrounding 
objects die away, and my full heart recognises 
only one terrestial good. I forget the space 
that intervenes, and am ready to expect an 
immediate answer to any questions I would 
make. Pleasant delusion! I do not love to 
part with it ; and yet I scarcely dare say that 
I wish it a reality. At the moment I write, 
you are probably calling sinners to repentance. 
Were the phantoms of my imagination realised, 
numbers might lose a blessing, while I perhaps 
might gain one. Am I selfish enough to wish 
this ? I hope not." 

" Skelton, October 7tA, 1801. 
" Is it three days, or three weeks, since we 
last met? I am obliged to acknowledge it is 
but three days. Yet may not absent friends 
be allowed a computation peculiar to them- 
selves, of which the dull compiler of an alma- 
nack is ignorant ? But I must not speak lightly 
of time, when I remember it is put into our 
hands for improvement, and that it is bringing 
us nearer to eternity. Its quick lapse may be 
remembered with pleasure wlieii ^^ ^\o<S*g.\k^- 

46 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

yond this vale of tears.' Sweet confidence ! that 
nothing can separate us from the love of God 
which is in Christ Jesus. May the friend of my 
heart experience every blessing which is in Him. 

Mrs. W allowed me to speak very freely 

to her on the subject of religion. Mr. W , 

her husband, often disputed with me. Putting 
religion out of the question, they are very nice 
people ; but I cannot now make her my intimate 
companion. May she be brought to Christ."* 

" Skelton^ November Ith^ 1801. 

" Last week I took tea with Mr. Bracken- 
bury, and several pious ladies from York. 
Your Bessy was humbled when she compared 
the progress she had made in the Divine life 
with that of others, who perhaps have not.had 
her opportunities. Father Burdsall was here on 
Thursday, as lively as ever, and ' strong in the 

faith.' Captain D tells me you were at 

Selby last week. May our blessed Lord abun- 
dantly prosper your ministry. I would have 
banished you from my thoughts on Sunday, 
but found it was impossible. Together may 
we tread the narrow road, and ever prove helps 
to each other I Adored be the hand which has, 
I trust, led us thus far in the way." 

* Many years after the date of this letter, Mrs. Newton 

had the satisfaction of hearing that this friend (once the 

JlancSe of her brother John) had become a decided Christian 

under the ministry of a clergyman of the Church of England. 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 47 

It appears that Mr. Brackenbury paid a 
visit to Howden soon after leaving York. Mr. 
Newton thus refers to it: — " My expectations 
were raised high, and it was a high day. I had 
such a manifestation of the love of God after- 
wards, in private pr^^yer, as I had seldom before 
experienced. My heart overflowed with love and 
joy. 0, what a delight it is to have the Gospel 
clearly and affectionately recommended to us I" 

''Skeltouj Novemier 15tA, 1801. 
" I LOST the opportunity of hearing Mr. Bram- 
well preach on Sunday, as good Father Burdsall 
preached here ; but on the Monday evening 1 
had that pleasure. And truly it was a pleasure. 
He much exceeded the idea I had formed of 
him. my friend, may you and I stimulate 
each other to the attainment of that good which 
the world cannot give us, and which the efforts 
of its malice cannot take from us. ' If God 
be for us, who can be against us?' Let us 
soar beyond created good, and leave mortality 

Again, two days later, she writes : " How 
willingly your fly-away horse seemed to carry 
you away the other evening! My outward 
comfort I felt was absent ; but I enjoyed peace 
in entreating the Lord to make you instru- 
mental in building up the faith of the GospeL 
Perhaps I was never before led to ^\^^^<^'^ 

48 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

yoTi thus earnestly. It will be ea I feel 
assured it will ; and we shall ever have cause 
to be grateful for our knowledge of each other. 
The same hand that brought yours brought a 
letter from my uncle ; in which he says, ' When 
the religious frenzy has left both our minds, 
how shall I reflect,' &c. I grant, if religion left 
us, bitter repentance would ensue; but 'our 
Shepherd's hand will surely keep us.' It gives 
me pain to see the darkness of those so nearly 
allied to me. that our gracious Master 
may suffer us to see a time when it shall be 

otherwise I Mrs. B offered to send for me, 

if I would pay them a visit ; but I do not like 
staying in families who are not at least seeking 

* the pearl of great price.' You, my dear N , 

sometimes are in company of this sort: how 
do you bear it ? I dined at Shipton the other 
day ; and found, as I ever do, that I was a loser. 
Perhaps if I could have given the conversation 
a profitable turn, I should have been a gainer ; 
but I find this diflScult in worldly company." 

Mr. Newton thus replies : — 

" Thanks be unto God our Father, whose 
arm upholds and directs His erring creatures. 
My dear Bessy's last letter was given me when 
in company, and I had to retire to peruse it. 

My heart seemed at once 

to overleap the bounds of our separation. 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 49 

Come, my beloved, and let us sink at the feet 
of our Jesus in holy adoration ! May I go on 
seeking only the honour of my blessed Master, 
and the good of my fellow-creatures. My 
dearest Bessy, let us live in the Spirit, and 
walk in the Spirit We had a glorious day on 
Sunday, and several friends were abundantly 
comforted. The congregations were larger than 

the chapel could contain I am 

quite of your opinion about worldly company. 
If we are not on our guard, we shall generally 
be losers by associating with those ' who fear 
not the Lord.' May you and I live every 
moment for God, and at last enter those regions 
of eternal glory, to be seated on a throne of light 
for ever, and to enjoy the Source of uncreated 
beauty, and gaze on it through endless ages. 
blessed hope! Heaven is before us! We 
shall go up and possess the good land. 
" I am, for ever, 

" Your own Newton." 

" December, 1801. 

" After preaching, I was sent for to visit 

Mrs. B , who was expected to die in a few 

hours. When I entered the room, she was 
praising God. She made a sign to me to pray ; 
and I had scarcely uttered a word, when the 
power of the Lord came down in such a manner 
that I knew not how to pioceoiA^ "^^^^ 

50 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

seemed to weep for joy. After prayer, I said, 
^ My flesh and my heart faileth ; but God is 
the strength of my heart, and my portion for 
ever.' She exclaimed, ^ Yes ; blessed be God ! 
Mr. Newton, help me to praise the Lord I 

* Angels beckon me away, 
And Jesus bids me come.' 

" Never before have I seen anyone so happy 
in the prospect of death. Her face seemed 
to beam with joy. How true is it that the 
faith of Christ is confirmed by the testimony 
of the dying saint] May we aspire after God's 
love, that at last this victory may be ours." 

The next letter of Mr. Newton's, from which 
we may cite a few passages, is dated, 

" Foggathorpj January 10^^, 1802. 

"Herbwc have a mixture of pain and pleasure; 
but there parting and sorrow will have no exist- 
ence. There universal good and permanent hap- 
piness will ever reign. There will our happiness 
be as enduring as the existence of Deity. May 
our souls be ever aspiring after this unutterable 
bliss I ^ We are saved by hope.' When last I 
parted with you, I thought of that common 
expression, * Our sweets must be mixed with 
bitters.' It is painful to be separated ; but we 
meet at the throne of grace." 

'^ Howden^ May Ist^ 1802. 

^'It IB a matter of great consolation to me 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 51 

to hear what you say respecting Miss 0- 

[a friend of Miss Nodes]. May He who has 
begun a good work carry it on to perfection. 
My heart rejoices at the thought of seeing her 
^ alive imto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' 
May you and I, dearest Bessy, ever breathe 
our souls in praise to Him who is our nearest 
Friend; and may each day bring us a succession 
ofgrace and peace to our souls! . . • . I was led 
to inquire, after readingyour last letter, * Whence 
this power of sympathy? whence this secret 
union ? ' My heart replied, ere I was aware, ^ 'Tis 
Thm^ sovereign Power, who hast drawn the 
endearing link ; Thou whose influence moves, 
whose providence directs, the creatures Thou 
hast made.' God is love ; Christ is love ; true 
religion is love ; heaven is love. This will be 
our theme to all eternity. Eternity is too short 
to fathom heaven's deptii of love to man. * Here- 
in is love, not that we loved God, but that He 
loved us.' May our souls rise and take wing : 
I will follow after you. You will forgive me if 
I say, I have the ambition to attempt to over- 
take you. 0, what heights, what depths are 
before us 1 Blessings hang around the Cross I 
Heaven bled that we might live. Heaven 
wept that we might smile. Angels admire; 
but what can we do, but love and praise? 
for a humble heart 1 for a higher song I" 

F 2 

52 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

" Homdeuy June 2rf, 1802. 

" How strange that we should cleave to the 
dust, fond of these earthly toys, when Divine 
happiness is held out to our view ! Why, my 
cold heart, art thou not lost in wonder, love, 
and praise? Angel minds are astonished at 
such coldness. I have lately had some gracious 
seasons indeed. How delightful to speak when 
the heart feels ! Last Lord's-day, when I was 
preaching from Hab. iii. 2, the power of God 
came down amongst us, and many were aflfiected. 
The same day, when I was speaking from 
2 Samuel xii. 7, an old hardened sinner was 
wounded to the heart, and left the chapel to 
give vent to his grief. Thou, Lord, art worthy 
of all the glory." 

" June Ihth^ 1802. 

" Through the tender mercy of our God, I 
am just arrived at Howden, after riding twelve 
miles in the storm. After we last parted, I 
stood behind a hedge, that I might see the 
object of . ... Well, the path of duty is the 
path of safety. Good is the will of the Lord. 
Let us get up on our spiritual Pisgah, and take 
a view of the land that lies in prospect." 

Miss Nodes's next letter, from which we shall 
quote, appears to refer to her contemplated 
marriage : — 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 53 

" ShelJUm, August 30^^, 1802, 
"I THANK you for telling me to sing my 
* unbelieving fears ' away. But you did not say 
how I was to obtain the happy trust of which 
you speak. After a severe trial last week, from 
the opposition of some relatives I will not now 
mention, I felt disposed to try to sing that 
hymn ; but when I came to the second part of 
the second verse, and remembered our first 
meeting that night, my voice failed me. What 
do you think of the manner of our departure ? 
I shall be satisfied. Will a chaise be more con- 
venient to you than what we firstproposed? I will 
do as you bid me with regard to Mr. Grayson." 

A few days before her marriage, she wrote 
some lines, which conclude as follows: — 

"Together may we live, together die, 
Together claim our home beyond the sky ; 
Together through the fields Elysian rove. 
And sing united our Redeemer's love ; 
Together prostrate faU before the throne, 
And haU the mystery of the Great Three-One ; 
In strains celestial praise, with one accord, 
Jehovah and the Lamb, our common Lord." 

Life had now fresh ties, awakening new 
feelings in her mind. Yet in her diary, after 
a severe illness, she asks, " And must I quit 
this world, part with the body, closely as it is 
linked with the immortal soul, and leave the 
dear tie5 oi earth .^ Nature, \ia\? ^xxSAstvsi^ 
F 3 

54 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

recoils at the thought. But love, upborne by 
faith, cheers the sinking spirit, and points to 
Him who once passed for us through death's 
dark vale. Behold, then, my trembling soul, 
Him who hallowed the cold grave, and made 
it a welcome passport to Himself. Canst thou 
fear to tread the path thy Beloved has trod 
before thee ? Banish the needless fears. He 
has promised His help and comfort. Glory 
to Thee, Thou Lamb of God, Thou spotless 
Sacrifice! May Thy love fill my heart with 
boly joy, fervent zeal, and ardent gratitude. 
Glory to Thee, merciful Father, whom I 
claim as wy Father, since I am Thy child in Jesus 
Christ. What am I, that I should be permitted 
to call the Maker of heaven and earth, whose 
presence fills infinitude, my Father ? 0, what 
comfort flows fi*om the thought that God is 
my Father ; mine, even mine I I am vile, weak, 
unworthy; prone to wander. Yet God is 
mine ; nor can the united powers of earth and 
hell deprive me of this glorious inheritance, 
while Jesus is my refuge, and His dying love 
my plea, and the Spirit ^ beareth witness ' of 
the sacred union. May I bear in mind that 
* whosoever loveth father or mother more than 
Thee is not worthy of Thee;' and may the 
objects of time and sense be to me as trifles, — 
but as a drop, in comparison of the ocean of 
eternal love. May the ties to earth keep their 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 56 

proper place in my heart, and be in subjection 
to the love of my heavenly Lord and Master." 

The day of her marriage arrived at last. It 
was a radiant snnny morning, after a succession 
of weeks of cloudy weather. Miss Nodes rose 
at six, and, according to her usual practice, 
spent some hours in devotional duties in her 
own apartment. Here Mr. Newton joined her, 
and, kneeling down together, they asked the 
Divine blessing upon their intended union. 
Few friends were invited to be present on the 
occasion. The gentleman who had always 
promised to * give the bride away,' refused to 
sanction her connexion with a Methodist 
preacher. Poor Mrs. Nodes kept her room. 
She had given her consent ; but could not be 
induced to be present, still fearing that the 
step would be fatal to her daughter's happiness. 
Mr. Johnson, an aged Methodist minister, 
acted as father of the bride ; and in conducting 
family-worship, before the small company left 
for church, seemed to pray with prophetic 
assurance that the " God of the families " of the 
earth had ordered and sanctioned the event. 
At length they stood side by side at the altar; 
and, the brief service over, Mrs. Newton says 
" she felt a sense of sweet inward satisfaction 
that her conflicts respecting the right path vro.^^ 
at an end, Mr. Newton waa \xfit \im^^sA\ 

56 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

her affection for him had become a duty ; and 
what GK)d had 'joined together '* man could 
not 'put asunder.'" They spent that day in 
retirement, at Skelton ; but on the day following 
Mr. Newton resumed his usual labours, and 
Mrs. Newton accompanied him to the house of 
Mr. Blanshard, of Cavil-Hall, Howden, where 
they remained a short time before taking pos- 
session of their humble lodgings. 

She had left home with no regrets, and 
thinking little of Mrs. Nodes's sorrow at their 
separation ; but when she went with Mr. Newton 
to the Howden chapel, and knelt in the pew 
in the corner, she felt haunted by some painful 
memories of Skelton and her mother, and, 
unobserved by her husband, suffered some tears 
to flow. But her tears were soon forgotten. 
Never was an union more happy than- 
that of Bobert and Elizabeth Newton — ^fipom 
its commencement to the day when they kept 
their jubilee on the 4th of September, 1852, at 
Southport, surrounded by children and chil- 
dren's children. Even some of her own relatives, 
who had opposed the match with the greatest bit- 
terness, were afterwards heard to say that " Mr. 
and Mrs. Newton were formed for each other." 
Mrs. Newton gives a somewhat amusing 
account of her entrance upon the duties 
of housekeeping: "We had nothing in the 
bouse for dinner when we began life together : 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 57 

but I heard a boy calling * Herrings, fresh 
herrings I ' in the street, and desired the woman 
who waited upon us to bring some and cook 
them. Well, the dinner was good enough; 
and I remembered that I had a bottle of wine 
in my trunk, and sent for it. But lo ! there 
was no wine-glass to be had. Our hostess at 
last produced one, the only one she possessed. 
I drank first, and passed the glass to my hus- 
band, who laughingly sang, ' And when her lips 
the nectar touch'd,' &c. We were very merry ; 
but as I did not like to remain in lodgings, 
Mr. Newton kindly took a small furnished 
house, and I engaged a servant-girl to wait 
upon us, until Providence sent us Nanny." 

This " Nanny" — or Old Nanny, as she was 
afterwards called in the family — ^was " sent" to 
the young couple thus : — Mr. Newton was detain- 
ed after preaching one evening longer than 
usual, and his bride was a little uneasy about 
him. In her anxiety, she tried to think that he 
was staying to converse with some in the con- 
gregation who, having heard the word, remained 
to pray and ask counsel of the minister ; a very 
common occurrence in Mr. Newton's early life. 
She joined them in spirit, and asked that God 
would be pleased to make her disappointment . 
an occasion of lasting spiritual good to, at the 
least, OTie unawakened sinner. When her 
husband returned home, lie to\A. V^x 'Cviird^ 


58 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

several persona in the chapel had been so 
deeply impressed with the importance of Di- 
vine truth, that they had begged him to stay, 
and converse and pray with them. Amongst 
others he mentioned a young servant-girl, 
who, having been, under most painful cir- 
cumstances, cast upon the world by her 
master, had come to the chapel in penitence 
and " found peace." Mrs. Newton wished to 
see her; and, notwithstanding the "painful 
circumstances " referred to, and her extremely 
delicate health, ventured to engage her at once. 
Under her kind management the girl soon grew 
strong, and became a most faithful and trust- 
worthy servant. She lived to be the beloved 
nurse of eight children of Mrs. Newton's, and of 
three of her grandchildren, among whom old 
Nanny's skill and attention in sickness, her 
" Yorkshire cakes," and rare cooking, will eveir 
be remembered. She died, while still in the 
family, at an advanced age, and in her master's 
house was mourned as a friend. 

Leaving Nanny as housekeeper, Mrs. New- 
ton now often accompanied her husband in 
those ministerial labours which occasioned his 
frequent absence from home. She had not yet 
learned to tolerate the loss of his society ; and 
in her diary laments her want of self-sacrifice, 
feeling it hard to give him up to those services 
of the church which his increasing popularity 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 59 

forced upon him. " I watched poor Mrs. Mac- 
farlan, whose husband was a tailor, hobbling 
about her cottage as she chattered to him over 
his work, and felt as if I could envy her," she 
says. But never, in one instance, did she 
selfishly break the resolution she had made 
before her marriage — not to interfere with her 
husband's sense of duty, or to hinder him in 
the course the church had chosen for him. 
Whether she always harmonized with him on 
these subjects or not, she left all to the provi- 
dence of Gk)d in unquestioning faith. 

Mr. Newton was wishful to introduce his wife 
to his homely relatives at Roxby, and in the 
course of this year arranged to visit his father 
and mother. The worthy couple still resided 
at the bleak house on the moor, and gladly 
welcomed their new daughter to their hospit- 
able home. Mrs. Newton entered at once into 
their simple manner of life, as if she had been 
brought up with them. She describes Mr. 
Francis Newton as a venerable saint, enter- 
ing with interest into the schemes and busy 
talk of his large family ; for on this occasion 
sons and daughters were gathered together to 
meet their sister-in-law, of whom they had 
heard so much. " Brother John" was milking 
the cow as they approached the house, his long, 
dark, curling hair hanging over his forehead ; 
and, as he raisedhis eyes, Mxa. TSeN^toxix^^Hi^x^^^ 

60 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

to her husband that she had never seen sa 
handsome a youth. Aged Mrs. Newton, a 
sweet, motherly person, soon came forward ; and 
they all repaired to the big old kitchen, with 
its oak-chairs and long oak-table. " Sister 
Anne" was busy arranging supper; and "Sister 
Mary," then a young and beautiful country 
girl, came in with her husband. It was a 
simple, happy family-party. After supper, a 
melodious Methodist hymn was sung; and 
then " the sire, with patriarchal grace," took 
down the "big ha'-Bible, once his father's 
pride," and concluded the day with prayer. 

Mr. and Mrs. Francis Newton had been 
attached members of the Church of England, 
and attended the ministry of one of those clergy- 
men of former times who preferred the sports of 
the field to the cure of souls. But, in the spring 
of the year 1785, it happened that, on their way 
to attend the funeral of a relative, they passed 
through the neighbouring village of Lyth, 
where Robert Newton preached his first sermon. 
Here Mr. Francis Newton had a sister who had 
been for some time a follower of John Wesley, 
and they called at her house to rest. On their 
taking leave of her, not wishing to attack their 
prejudices against Methodism in a more direct 
way, she slipped a copy of " John Nelson's 
Journal" into her brother's pocket as he shook 
hands with her. As she had hoped, this little 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 61 

book excited his interest. He read it to his 
wife in winter evenings, and determined to hear 
the Methodists for himself. Mrs. Newton was 
willing to follow the light of truth, yet, afraid 
of being misled, it was some time before she 
could decide to accompany her husband to 
the ^preaching-house.' But both sought the 
Lord by prayer and reading the Scriptures. 
" If any man lack wisdom," said Mrs. Newton, 
" let him ask of God ;" and once, when her 
husband was absent at the meeting, she spent 
the time in secret prayer, that she might know 
the right way, and walk in it. On the Easter 
Monday of 1786, however, a friend invited 
them to attend a lovefeast at Guisborough. Mr. 
Newton, on this occasion, was so overwhelmed 
with anxiety about his soul, that he rose up, and 
declared before the whole meeting the distress 
he was in. Friends came round him to encour- 
age him. They then turned to Mrs. Newton ; 
and were surprised to hear from her that she 
could rely upon her Saviour's merit and love, 
having already obtained the blessing her hus- 
band was seeking. Both continued from this time 
members of the Methodist Society, and orna- 
ments to religion ; — a religion which guided 
and supported them in life, and enabled them 
to triumph gloriously over their last enemy in a 
mature old age. 
At this period Mr. F. liiewtoxi'^ feimA^ ^^"v^- 


62 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

sisted of six sons and two daughters ; not one of 
whom isnow left to tell of that pleasant gathering 
with their brother Robert and " sister "at their 
father's house. Mary was married to one Billy 
Cobb ; and Billy was, we believe, a sailor. Anne 
remained with her father and mother until their 
death, when she was united to the captain of a 
small vessel. Five sons were afterwards 
preachers, the oldest one following the occupa- 
tion of his father. Two or three simple grave- 
stones in the churchyard at Thorpe, on the hill 
overlooking the sea, relate that Francis New- 
ton, and his wife Anne Booth Newton, lived and 
died, as also their children ; but the church of 
Christ has pkasant memories connected with 
those gravestones, which can best be summed 
up in the words of the psalmist, — " But of Zion 
it shall be said. This and that man was born in 
her ; and the Highest Himself shall establish 

About Christmas of the same year Mrs. 
Newton paid a visit to her mother at Skelton. 
But home was no longer home now. She was 
pleased to see her mother, and her former friends ; 
few of whom, however, now cared to notice her. 
It is almost amusing to read the following 
letter, in which we feel how ardently she longed 
for the little home at Howden, made sacred to 
her by the affection of her ^' heart's elected," 
and by the associations of married life : — 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 63 

" SkeUan-Hally December 20th. 

" In days that are past, Miss Nodes used to 
address yon with delight ; but she knew not half 
the pleasure that she now feels in addressing 
her dear best friend, her dear husband. Days, 
hours, and minutes move heavily in your 
absence. How have you become entwined into 
my very existence, so that separation from you 
seems a division of myself I But a few days 
more, and I trust our heavenly Father, who 
hath so signally befriended us, will permit us 
again to meet. I have not forgotten the last 
look my swimming eyes got of their departing 
treasure; neither do I cease to remember 
where that dear hand pointed me to look. Ah, 
my love, how poor were all our enjoyments 
without the approbation of Heaven I Happy as 
we are in each other at present, if God were 
not our friend, how soon would that happiness 
be blasted! Or, admitting the strength of 
natural affection might give us a degree of 
temporal comfort, with what terror should we 
look forward to our separation at the hour of 
death I But if Jesus is ours, we have more 
glorious prospects. 

" My dear mother is better as to her cough, 
but her spirits are low. To-morrow I have 
Miss Walterson to meet Mr. Burdsall. They 
told me this morning they saw you, and 
that you said you should be kei^ a^^\xi. "^^-^ 
G 2 

64 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

sweet was the sound, could I have believed it ! 
But I knew full well they had mistaken your 
meaning. Were it for any other call than the 
salvation of souls, how unwilling should I be to 
be so often separated from you ! But the thought 
of your doing so great a work, instrumentally, 
makes the cross seem light, notwithstanding 
my tears. I shall expect to hear from you (if 
you can) on Friday: otherwise I perhaps 
shall see you the same day, Friday being the 
market-day on account of Christmas. 

" Mr. H. and my mother have been using their 
utmost influence to induce me to stay a month 
longer. I need not tell you I am inflexible. 
If the day is favourable, meet me at our little 
abode at three o'clock ; by which time, at the 
latest, I hope to be at home. 0, my bounding 
heart — but then, my mother ! It is indeed true 
there is no perfect happiness below. I cannot 
enjoy your company without giving her pain ; 
but the Lord will support her. Take care of 
yourself Remember the road from B — to 
River-Bridge. Love me, and pray for me. 
" Your affectionate Eliza." 

" Last night I received my dearest Bessy's 
letter," writes Mr. Newton in return. " What 
did not my heart feel when I recognised 
the address at some distance! I will not 
pretend to say how dull and heavy have been 
these long days of absence. This earth is to 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 65 

me a wilderness without your presence : indeed 
separation would be insupportable, were it not 
that we know ' the way of duty is the way of 
safety.' Where He appoints we go ; and having 
the testimony, that our ways please God, every 
cross is lightened, and every cup is sweetened. 
What has the Lord done for us ! I am hum- 
bled for my ingratitude. Come, my soul, and 
let us join ourselves in a perpetual covenant to 
the Lord, that shall not be forgotten. 

"We have a lovefeast here on Christmas- 
day. Mr. and Mrs. Blanshard are coming. I 
shall be at home. What shall I add to this ? 
K — nay, our dear mother shall have your com- 
pany as long as she can. I expect to preach 
at Brighton on Monday; and if you inquire for 
Brighton when you get to Bubwith, it will be 
half a mile out of your way, and we shall return 
to Howden together. I hope Providence will 
favour you with a fine day for your return. God 

bless you, my love. 

"I am, for ever, 

*^ Your Newton." 
In the August of the following year, 1803, 
Mr. and Mrs. Newton left Howden for Glasgow, 
Mr. Newton having been appointed to labour 
in that city. After spending a short time with 
Mrs. Nodes, they left York by the mail, accom- 
panied by Nanny, who wept bitterly at the idea 
of leaving Yorkshire andliet o\OL\iom^, 

66 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

All was strange to Mrs. Newton when they 
entered their new abode; and though Mr. 
Newton's popularity cheered her, and she was de- 
lighted to see the chapel soon filled to overflowing, 
she could never feel quite at home in Scotland. 
She had been accustomed to attend the Church 
of England to receive communion, and inquired 
of her friends at Glasgow for " the Church," 
as she called it. It was some time before she 
could make herself understood ; but at length 
the truth dawned upon her mind that the 
services of the Church of England were not held 
in general esteem north of the Tweed. She was 
induced, however, to receive the sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper at the Wesleyan chapel,' 
administered as it then was, and still is, accord- 
ing to the Scotch usage. Together with her 
husband she frequently attended the ministry 
of Dr. Wardlaw, Dr. Balfour, and Dr. Ewing ; 
and she was also introduced to the " English 
clergyman " and his wife, by one of her friends. 
Some of her most pleasing reminiscences of 
Scotland, however, were associated with long 
walks with her husband through its glorious 
mountain-scenery. She delighted to accompany 
him to Stirling on his preaching excursions, 
and to see the sun set from the Castle Hill, 
and to view the graceful windings of the Forth. 
"We went to Kelvin Grove," she says, 
^^ very often ; but it was not the ' Kelvin Grove ' 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 67 

of the old song. To enjoy Scotch scenery fully, 
you must make your way among the solitary 
glens of the Highlands, where nature seems 
yet to bear the impress that God gave her in 
the morning of creation." 

At Stirling Mr. Newton had an offer of 
a Presbyterian church ; and she felt some 
secret wish that he might see it his duty 
to accept the tempting proposal. But she 
never breathed one word of her feelings to 
him, fearing she might influence him to act 
against his own convictions of right. It was 
then that England dreaded an invasion from 
the French, and the name of Buonaparte had 
become terrible even as a nursery bugbear. 
Soldiers were quartered at Stirling ; and on one 
occasion, when Mrs. Newton was sketching and 
her husband busied with his sermons, in the 
open air, they were watched, and mistaken for 
spies. The young minister and his wife were 
soon better known. The chapel became too 
small for the increasing congregation, and the 
Town-Hall was hired. This, too, was quickly 
filled to overflowing. Mrs. Newton's friends 
at Stirling persuaded her to assume the dress 
of the ladies around her, and to lay aside the 
plain bonnet she had assumed. " Why should 
such a bonnie lassie make herself such a 
fright?" said one lady. Mr. Newton seconded 
the proposed alteration, S\v^ ^cc<3t$iAXi'^l 

68 Life af Mrs. Newton. 

baught herself anew bonnet; but she could not 
help thinking that there was as much of the 
spirit of Puritanism in the exclusion of instru- 
mental music from their Sabbath devotions, as 
in her plain attire. Once she attempted to sing 
a hymn on a Sunday evening, accompanying 
herself with her spinnet ; when the good lady 
occupying the adjoining " flat " sent to remind 
her that " the Sabbath was no time for whistling 
and diversion." 

During their residence in Scotland, Mr. and 
Mrs. Newton had to submit to sundry temporary 
inconveniences and privations. At Ayr they 
stayed at the lodging-house occupied by the 
assistant preacher, while he exchanged with 
Mr. Newton. After a day's journey they 
reached the house, which was kept by " Tebby 
Neale." " We ascended a wooden staircase into 
a dark passage," says the diary, " and were 
ushered into a large room containing a bed, a 
few plain chairs, a bit of carpet, and adorned 
with a greasy map of Jerusalem, pinned against 
the wall. My husband looked at me as he 
said, * My dear, what have I brought you to!' 
I laughingly told him, ' we were not far from 
Jerusalem !' Happy in each other's society, 
we forgot the want of home-comforts." At 
Ayr Mrs. Newton visited the poor people 
surrounding her lodgings, and was pleased to 
£nd 8o iDucb intelligent piety among them. 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 69 

It does not appear, however, that Mrs. 
Newton maintained the same happy sense of 
the Divine presence at this time as she had 
enjoyed during the first years of her religious 
life. Probably there was a physical cause for 
this depression. Her health had suffered 
from fatigue occasioned by her long walks ; and 
her husband, too, often complained of head- 
ache from over-exertion in mind and body. 
" I have lived," she says, in her diary, " since 
I came here, ^ at a poor dying rate ; ' sometimes 
strong in faith, but again relapsing into evil 
reasonings with the enemy of souls. Fierce 
temptations often assail me, and the corruption 
within causes me to tremble for my eternal 
safety. Yet I have much to be thankful for. 
I have not lost my hold of my dear Redeemer ; 
but how negligent have I been in prayer, 
how impatient under trials, and how often do 
my thoughts linger below! for a heart 
burning with zeal for the glory of my Saviour 1 
I enjoyed more comfort while hearing my dear 
husband speak from ' Unto you that believe. 
He is precious,' and appeal to our own ex- 
perience to prove how precious the Lord Jesus 
is to us in private devotion. But my beloved 
husband has been twice taken ill after preach- 
ing three times, and a variety of fears occupied 
my mind ; amongst others, the idea that 
the Lord would teach m(i tViaX* ^^ ^wj^a. 

70 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

would possess my heart I feared my Isaac 
was about to be sacrificed ; and I had not the 
faith of Abraham : I could not say resignedly, 
* Thy will be done/ The Lord has been better 
to me than my fears. 0, how cold is this heart 
of mine ta the God of so many mercies I I see 
religion to be ^the one thing needful' and 
valuable ; but I want more self-denial." 

Again: "My dearest husband's continued in- 
disposition has been a great trial to me. I spent 
this day till evening alone with him. Bishop 
Beveridge's *- Serious Resolutions' fell acci- 
dentally into my hands ; and I trust I profited 
by reading them, particularly where he speaks 
of resolving to set a watch over his heart. My 
desire is to be wholly Thine^ blessed Saviour I 
Do Thou confirm Thy work. On Sunday our 
congregations were large, and the people very 
attentive ; yet too many seemed to hear only 
to criticise, and I fear little good was done." 

" I heard to-day of a singular instance of God's 
goodness in answering prayer. A pious widow 
in this city was sitting in her home one 
Saturday evening with her little grandchild^ 
mournfully looking at the last bit of coal as it 
consumed away in the empty grate. ^ Granny, 
shall we nae hae a wee bit' fire to-morrow ?* 
said the boy. * Ah,' replied the good woman, 
' I dinna ken when we shall have a bit' fire, 
or a hiV food to eat. I have spent my last 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 71 

baubee this night But the Lord will provide.' 
She had scarcely uttered the words when she 
saw the door move. She rose up quickly, 
opened it, and looked down the * stair.' (Her 
room was an upper ^flat.') She saw no one 
go out ; but lying on a chest by the door was 
a shilling. She is ignorant to this day how it 
came there; but received it, trusting the Lord 
had sent it by some kind messenger. There is 
much poverty in Glasgow; but God has His 
own way of providing for His children." — She 
then mentions another similar instance of provi- 
dential interposition related to her when visiting 
the poor. " A woman who had an aged mother 
and four fatherless children dependent upon 
her was, on one occasion, reduced to great 
necessity. Her children distressed her with 
cries for their breakfast, and she saw that they 
were pining away for want Recollecting the 
goodness of the Lord, and His promises, she 
was encouraged to trust that He would, in some 
way, speedily supply her need. Shortly after- 
wards, on opening accidentally an old ^2^^/yj/^, 
she found a sixpence in it ; and, small as the 
sum may seem, it supplied her starving family 
with food until she was able again to earn 
something for their support. She had trusted 
in God, and He had delivered her." 

Some of Mrs. Newton's views underwent a 
considerable change during T[iei xei^\^^\i^^ *\^ 

72 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Scotland, and early prejudices were removed. 
Her attachment to the Church of England was 
unabated ; but she learned to acknowledge 
other branches of the Church Catholic as con- 
stituting one living body. She no longer hesi- 
tated to speak of her husband as the Reverend, 
a mark of respect for his ministerial oflSce she 
had hitherto withheld. She began to feel that 
she might hold happy fellowship with many 
who profess themselves Christians, albeit in 
minor matters they might differ from herself 
and the Church in which she had been baptized 
and brought up. 

" I have been permitted," she says, " again 
to sit down at the table of my Lord ; and when 
the sacred elements were presented to me, my 
heart was melted : my inward cry was, * 0, for 
this love let my whole soul dissolve in tender- 
ness ! ' My husband spoke of this service as a 
time for reneAred dedication of ourselves to 
Christ. My heart was at the same moment 
lifted to the slaughtered Lamb in vows of con- 
secration ; yet, how weak did I feel I This is 
Easter Sunday, and a dawn of gratitude seems 
to awaken within me ; but, alas I it is like the 
sun gleaming through a cloud. The spring 
returns, the face of nature assumes the most 
engaging aspect, the natural sun enlivens and 
beautifies every object ; but the gaiety of the 
world without makes a sad contrast with the 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 73 

gloom still resting on my mind." But the 
cloud soon dispersed; her soul emerged from 
the darkness, and she rejoiced in God her 
Saviour. Her husband left her about this time, 
to spend a few days in Edinburgh, and to 
attend the District-Meeting, as we find from 
the following letter : — 

" Edinburgh^ May SOtky 1804. 

" How often have the last words my dearest 
Bess said to me when I left her sounded in 
my ears : ' A little letter ! ' I eagerly snatch 
a few moments to comply with her request. 
Through the good providence of God, I arrived 

here safe yesterday afternoon. Brother T 

preached this evening ; and Mr. Chairman, who 
sat behind me, got up and published for me 
to-morrow night. I am chosen Secretary ; so 
it must be Friday before I can see and clasp 
my dear Bess to my heart again. I had the 
pleasure of meeting ^ in band' with Lady Max- 
well last night, and we dine with her to- 
morrow. We breakfasted with Captain Currie. 
The friends here are anxious that I should stay 
with them over the Sabbath ; but this / cannot 
do. I think I never felt it more disagreeable 
to be separated from you. The people are 
determined that I shall spend another year at 
Glasgow ; but let them talk on. I am forced to 
stop, as supper waits. 


74 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

" God bless my dear Bess, is the prayer of 
her own 

" R Newton.'^ 

Mr. Newton returned home in better health, 
and the following Sunday he addressed two 
overflowing congregations without injury to 
himself. The summer was advancing, and, as 
the weather continued fine, in the course of a 
few weeks he preached on Glasgow-Green. 
Thousands were assembled, and a hallowed 
sense of the presence of God rested on the 
people. It had been proposed that he should 
return in the following August to England; and 
Mrs. Newton resolved to accompany him to the 
London Conference, there to await the fixing 
of their future destination. They embarked on 
board an armed smack, bound for London, in 
August, 1804, and were becalmed for nearly a 
week. To add to the disagreeables of this tedious 
voyage, Mrs. Newton was kept in continual 
alarm of the French ; and as the guns were 
daily fired, and the captain talked largely of 
the necessity of a constant look-out for danger, 
her nervousness increased so much that Mr. 
Newton decided to land at Cromer, in company 
with two or three passengers who were recon- 
noitring the defences of the country for the 
Government. They went on by land; and upon 
arriving in town, Mr. Newton took his wife to the 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 75 

house of their worthy host during the Conference. 
Here they were received with the greatest 
kindness and hospitality. In London she saw 
Methodism under a new aspect As she sat in the 
little parlour in the house adjoining the chapel, 
many a sedate and earnest face passed in and 
out, all intent upon the great work of calling 
sinners to repentance, or occupied with some 
important debate in the Conference. Little did 
they heed the girlish-looking wife of Robert 
Newton. On one occasion she heard Mr, Ben- 
son, with another grave personage, lamenting 
that " tJwLt Newton had not stayed quietly in 
Scotland, instead of putting the Conference to 
any expense by his long journey ; " and she felt 
roused to say " that Mr. Newton had paid his 
own expenses " in the said journey. Mr. Benson 
she describes as somewhat stern and exacting ; 
an Elijah, earnest in the pursuit of truth and 
duty, rather than an alluring St John. His 
sermons, she thought, were ** all strength, bone, 
and sinew, with little of pathos." The ac- 
quaintance of Dr. Coke was formed by her during 
this visit, as also that of Samuel Bradburn, 
Dr. Adam Clarke, and others. She met Mrs. 
Mortimer, who had been the intimate friend 
of John Wesley, and was much interested in 
her society. The uncle who had opposed her 
marriage occupied a house at Brighton durixi^ 
that autumn ; and, as he Vmd\y \\iV\V^SL\iet \si 
H 2 

76 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

visit his family at the sea-side, she now took 
the opportunity of introducing him to Mr. 
Newton. The result of this visit was a mutual 
good understanding. Her uncle was much 
pleased, and forgot his former opposition to 
the connexion with a Methodist preacher. 
Mrs. Newton's health was re-established at the 
sea-side, and she parted from her relatives in 
the .reciprocated hoj)e of meeting each other 
again. When the " Stations" were read, Mrs. 
Newton was delighted to hear that her husband 
was appointed to Rotherham. She longed to 
return to " dear Yorkshire," and the rough pro- 
vincialisms of her native county still sounded 
like music in her ears. Having paid a short 
visit to Mrs. Nodes at Skelton, they took pos- 
session of their new dwelling. A very modest 
one it was; and well might Nanny exclaim that 
it was " unfit for Missis." The stone floor to 
the little parlour, and the rough furniture, were 
certainly not inviting. But kind friends came 
in, and all was soon put in comfortable order. 
" I never met with more noble and disinterested 
kindness," says Mrs. Newton, " than in that 
humble dwelling." 

The parlour was shortly so metamorphosed 

that her husband, on his return from a country 

journey, scarcely* knew it. A new carpet was 

laid down, and new curtains had been provided ; 

for it apjjears these worthy ladies had instituted 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 77 

what in the back-woods of America is called a 
" Bee^'^ for the especial benefit of Mrs. Newton. 
One had been stitching at the carpet, and 
another at the curtains ; and Mrs. Nodes, too, 
had sent a bed from Skelton ; and what may 
not nimble feminine fingers and feminine tact 
accomplish, in the way of giving an air of 
elegance and refinement to the plainest habita- 
tion ? Mrs. Newton had just then in prospect 
an additional tie to her little home ; but her 
hope was destined to be disappointed. An alarm, 
occasioned by a large dog which sprang suddenly 
upon her, while it endangered her own life, occa- 
sioned the death of her first babe, April, 1805. 
She recovered only after several weeks of con- 
finement to the sick-room. " The Lord hath 
chastened me," the diary continues, after a 
considerable break; "but chastisement has been 
so mingled with mercy, that the one has scarcely 
been discerned for the sweetness of the other. 
Though I do not enjoy the presence of my babe, 
I resign it to Him who forbade not the 
approach of such to His arms, but took them 
up and blessed them. A few weeks ago I said 
I did not ask high things for my child, should 
it be spared ; but I asked its salvation ; and 
God hath heard my petition, and hath placed 
it beyond the reach of evil. What shall I render 
unto the Lord for all His beiie&.t^*i \ ^'^'r^ 
take the cup of salvation, and devoid xk^^^ 
H 3 

78 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

again to His service. Vouchsafe, Lord, to 
ratify the vow I make to be wholly Thine 

In little more than another year the 
maternal hopes were realised, and Nanny 
and Mrs. Newton divided the new-born 
care, a smiling girl, between them with 
almost equal delight. Gentle Miss Nightin- 
gale, then just in her teens, bought " baby '* 
a hat and cloak. Mrs. Newton was her con" 
fdante in those days ; and the young mother, 
like an experienced matron, felt ready to give 
her young friend good advice and salutary 
lessons. Much had they to tell to each other 
in the snug parlour, when the class-meeting 
was ended, and they were left alone. Then 
occurred a great chapel-opening : Mr. Pipe 
preached in the morning, Mr. Newton in 
the evening, and crowds assembled to hear. 
Those were truly happy days, and Mrs. Newton 
thus records her thankfulness to the Supreme 
Father :— 

" What has the Lord done for His creature I 
In the hour of nature's extremity He was my 
helper ; and lo ! I am now the living mother 
of a perfect living child. Praise the Lord, O 
my soul, and forget not all His benefits. What 
shall I render unto the Lord ? I will present 
my soul and body a sacrifice unto Him. O 
that it way he accepted iu R\s ^v^t ! I am 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 79 

such a weak, ungrateful creature that, unless 
prevented by Thy grace, I shall again forget 
Thy mercies : but may Thy power prevent me ; 
and may the dear infant be an additional tie 
to devote ourselves to Christ and His glory. 
Accept Thine own gift, gracious Saviour, in 
time and in eternity." 

The birth of their daughter took place in the 
second year of Mr. and Mrs. Newton's residence 
at Rotherham, and shortly before the Con- 
ference which should determine their future 
appointment. This annual assembly was held 
that year, 1806, at Leeds. Mr. Newton writes 
a hurried note from Wakefield : — 

" I HAVE only just time to say, my dear 
Eliza, that I have got safe to this place, after 
leaving my earthly all behind. We are going 
to Leeds to dine. God bless my dearest 
Bessy, and the dear little baby." 

Mrs. Newton reminds him, in reply, that she 
has his little rival with her ; and that she is to 
make her fii-st dehut in the town with Nanny, 
in her new hat and cloak. She naturally 
inquires where the Conference is likely to 
appoint them in the ensuing year, yet is 
apparently somewhat indifferent to places : — 
" I shall be satisfied with our appointment^" 
she sajs^ " because I believe \i V^XVXi^ qtsl^^'^x^^ 

80 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

by the Lord ; and if you are to be much at 
home, I shall be doubly grateful." 

Their next sphere was fixed for the neigh- 
bouring town of Shefl5eld, and Mr. Newton 
eagerly embraces the first opportunity of telling 
her their destination : — 

" I kneel down in a pew, in spite of all the- 
confusion of tongues, to address a line to my 
dearest Bessy, which will be carried to her by 
Mr. Crowther. My station has been read for 
SheflSeld, and will, I hope, remain so. I hope, 
too, that the appointment is of God. Mr. 
M^NicoU has just whispered in my ear, ^ Give 
Mrs. Newton my love ; and give her an addi- 
tional proof of your affection by informing her 
that you write on your knees.' Thank Grod, I 
was never more dead to passing objects than 
since I came here." ..." How shall I express 
my gratitude to God for His goodness to me 
and mine I The gracious Lord has cared, does 
care, and will yet care for us. But when shall 
we again meet ? A few more long days, and all 
we wish shall be realised. In the meantime 
let us continue to meet each other at the throne 
of grace. In spite of every remonstrance, I 

j)reach in the new chapel to-morrow forenoon ; 

Mr. Bunting in the afternoon, and Mr. Benson in 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 81 

tlie evening. I hear that some of the ' muckle ' 
folk intend coming. May the Master give me 
a word in season to say to them." 

"Your little rival," again writes Mrs. 
Newton, " had almost made me forget to write 
to you till too late for post ; but I cannot resist 
the pleasure of conversing with you for a few 
minutes. my dear love, time begins to 
appear long since I lost you : how impatient I 
feel for your return ! May we meet with our 
hearts alive unto God, as well as to each other. 
I am satisfied with our appointment at ShefiSeld, 
but fear for the health of my beloved. They 
say you will be much at home ; and, though it 
will be pleasing, if it does not agree with you, it 
will not make me happy. I wish the friends 
would be persuaded to take you a house in 
an airy situation; though I believe they 
call Carver-street such a one. We must 
receive it as Providential. The Lord be with 

Mrs. Newton took leave of her friends at 
Rotherham with regret, her husband's ministry 
there having been attended with great suc- 
cess. A new chapel had been erected, and 
a commodious minister's house had taken the 
place of their former dwelling. The congrega- 
tions had also increased, and the church had 
len":thened her " cords " aiid ^iT^w^^'i'vv^^ 

82 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

her '^ stakes." She was sanguine, however, in 
the hope that Mr. Newton would be increasingly 
useful in his new scene of toil ; a hope that 
was not disappointed. 

At Sheffield she renewed her acquaintance 
with Mr. and Mrs. Bunting, who entered upon 
this sphere of labour in the second year of 
Mr. Newton's appointment there. It was an 
acquaintance that soon ripened into friendship, 
and that continued unbroken during the long 
period in which these two servants of Christ 
were suffered to be fellow-labourers in the same 
vineyard, — despite the frequent occasions of 
collision and strife which occurred in the wear 
and tear of fifty years. 

" I first saw Mrs. Bunting in London," says 
Mrs. Newton, " when she was trying to recon-' 
cile another minister's wife to an appointment 
in an obscure field of labour. When I saw her 
the second time, she was in the little parlour 
of the preacher's house at Sheffield, mending 
her husband's stockings. Mrs. Bunting said, 
^ I mean to be very thick ; '* and very 
Uhick,' sure enough, we were." They ar- 
ranged to spend the evenings in each other's 
society, when not otherwise engaged. Their 
husbands were frequently absent, preaching in 
\hQ surrounding villages ; and the two ladies, 

* A provincial term foi " Mendly." 

Life of Mrs, Newto7i, 83 

the one with her infant son, and the other with 
her infant daughter, brought their work- 
baskets, and passed the evenings in pleasant 

At Sheffield these two eminent men brought 
all their strength to bear upon the evergrowing 
masses of a manufacturing population, among 
whom a low scepticism, the vulgar infidelity of 
Paine, associated with the " Bed Republi- 
canism " of that day, was fast gaining ground. 
Mr. Newton was eminently successful in com- 
bating this form of error. We must not say 
that he was a mob- orator ; but he could address 
the working classes with wonderful tact. Him- 
self a Yorkshireman, he knew how to frame 
the broad Saxon into sentences that they could 
understand, and to bring home to them the 
truths of the Gospel. It was here that he 
happened to visit a poor mechanic, who had 
been long led astray by the influence of Paine's 
disciples at their meetings for disputation and 
drinking. This man had heard Mr. Newton 
preach at one of the large chapels ; and although 
he could not reply to the objections of the 
sophist and the caviller, which he had learned 
to entertain, the word had fastened itself on the 
heart, and he returned home to pray to Jesus 
of Nazareth, whom he had before blasphemed. 
The minister had urged his congregation to 
^^ prom the power of the Gospel \>^ y^^^^x^^^ 

84 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

the Holy Spirit;" and this wanderer resolved 
to try the experiment. He prayed, and mourned 
for sin, until it pleased God to reveal Christ 
to his soul as " the way, the truth, and the 
life." His scoflSng companions came about 
him with their questions and their sneers. 
" Ah," he said, " I have found an argument 
for the truth of the Gospel that you know 
nothing of. I know that Christ is the Saviour 
of sinners, because He has mved ?w^." His 
infidel associates were silenced, and left 

Mr. Bunting, in his eflforts to promote the 
observance of the Sabbath, used his influence 
to stop the practice of teaching writing in 
the Sunday-schools with great success. " I 
owe it to him," says Mrs. Newton, " that 
I abandoned the habit of walking out on the 
Sunday afternoon with my child, as being liable 
to be misunderstood by the working people 
with whom we were surrounded." Mr. Bunt- 
ing's advice was also followed upon another 
subject Mrs. Newton, as we know, had 
been in the practice of reading and praying 
with the people in little companies. She did 
not intend to preach or teach ; but, as the 
societies became larger, these meetings for read- 
ing seemed to be leading to something very like 
it. On one occasion, a neighbouring village 
iving been disappointed in the wish to obtain 

Life of Ah's, Nrdjton, 85 

Mr. Newton's services, a worthy man stepped 
forward and said, " If ye can't come, can ye 
send 't Missis?" Mr. Bunting, however, 
advised her to restrict her religious zeal within 
the limits of her own family, or the class- 
meeting. "Her husband," he said, "was the 
minister ; the minister's wife should act only 
in the retirement of social life." All that he 
said was in harmony with Mrs. Newton's 
own feelings, and from this time her 
character became singularly unostentatious 
and retiring. She visited the sick, spoke 
amongst her female friends at the class- 
meeting, but never attempted to convene 
a public meeting or assutbe the office of 

" I still retain the pleasant recollection of 
our early friendship," we find in the journal. 
" When Nanny went out with my child, Mrs. 
Bunting's boy was taken with her, and for some 
time our children were allowed no other play- 
mates. Mr. Barl)er had given me the charge 
of a class ; but I now feel that I was too young 
to counsel old and experienced Christians. It 
would have been better if I had confined 
myself altogether to district-visiting, and the 
duties of home." 

And there was enough to do amongst the 
poor. The people of Sheffield were, at that 
day, very ignorant and dei^T^N^^x '•'•^NiJ^ 



86 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

not so bad," she says, " as good Mr. , 

one of the young preachers, supposed. Hap- 
pening to meet a boy with two large cans 
slung across the back of an ass, he asked 
him what he had got there ; for he had 
observed him and others bringiug these huge 
cans into the town every morning. The lad 
was, no doubt, a Yorkshire roag ; for he touched 
his hat with a smile, and said, * Gin^ sir.'* 
The minister was horrified ; and on the follow- 
ing Sunday he declaimed largely against the 
sins of Sheffield, where gin was consumed 
to so disgusting an extent, that 'big cans 
of it were brought in every morning on 
asses.' " 

Mrs. Newton's diary at this time evidences 
that the work of Divine grace in her soul was 
still advancing under the teaching of God, 
and the happy influence of her religious 

" I was this morning permitted," she writes, 
" to approach the Lord's table. I went to His 
house deeply humbled under a sense of my 
own unworthiness ; but 0, how are His ways 
unlike our ways, and His mercies past finding 
out! The sweet sense of my Redeemer's 
presence in the holy ordinance dissipated every 
gloomy fear, and my heart overflowed with 
joy and gratitude. The past was recalled to 
my view, — God's goodness in calling me out of 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 87 

the world, in accepting me for His child ; and 
the blessed occasions when He appeared to me 
as ^the chiefest among ten thousand,' the 
'altogether lovely;' while my whole soul 
seemed lost in ecstasy in the bright prospects 
that converting grace had opened before me. 
Again I devoted myself to the Lord's service, 
— that service which I have found so delightful ; 
and Hears of joy my eyes o'erflowed.' " 

The following extract is dated January 7 th, 
after the Covenant service : — 

" The year is past. Another is commenced. 
Eemember not against me, God, the errors 
of the year ; but let the blood of the covenant 
be applied anew to my conscience. Again I 
offer myself to Thee on the bended knees of 
my heart. Myself, my husband, and the infant 
Thou hast given us, I would consecrate to 
Thee. I have been permitted to renew my 
covenant again in public, and would beseech 
Thee, my Divine Master, to send me aid from 
above, that broken vows and unfulfilled resolu- 
tions may never rise up against me. I have 
lately been determined to act by rule^ and have 
seen the necessity of punctuality in my private 
devotions. I make my morning devotions the 
time of prayer for present mercies, and thanks- 
giving for mercies past. At noon I read a 
chapter, or part of one, with solemn dedication 
of myself to God, and pxayei \Xi«L\*\T£i'«^ \i^ 
I 2 

88 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

enabled to fulfil my duties, as a follower of 
Christ, and as a wife, a mother, a mistress, 
and a professor of religion. At seven in the 
evening I go with my dear husband in spirit, 
and pray for a blessing on his ministry ; for 
my country, my king, my relatives, my 
servants, and for the progress of the Gospel 
of Christ. My evening devotions are a short 
surrender of myself into my Redeemer's hands . 
with trust and thanksgiving. But I have 
cause to mourn for frequent wanderings of 
attention in these devotions, and to say that 
my best performances need the blood of Christ 
What worldly thoughts creep in, when I per- 
ceive it not ! How many omissions cause me 
to bewail my unfaithfulness ! Yet the inward 
cry of my heart is, ' Lord, let me be Thine.' I 
commend myself to Thee, and to Thy gracious 


« « « « 

" Another month is gone. Swiftly glides the 
stream of time, and eternity rapidly approaches. 
I feel the need of grace, that I may be ready. 
Ah, where is the zeal, the life of the early 
period of my espousals, when my feet seemed 
to fly to meet the Lord in His house or in 
retirement ? Yet Thou art mine ; nor can the 
world's united power give me comfort 
without Thy presence. I claim Thee, in the 
name of Christ, as my soul's portion. Father, 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 89 

accept Thy cliild through the Son of Thy love. 
O blessed Spirit, descend, and witness to my 
heart that I am bom of God ; so shall I cry 
from the depths of my soul, * Abba, Father.' " 

" Why shrinks my soul, and fondly clings 
to life ? my Divine Redeemer, I pray for 
life, though I feel that to be ^ absent from the 
body is to be present with the Lord.' Strange 
inconsistency I How can I reconcile such 
feelings with my love to Thee ? my cold 
heart, how base art thou, if Jesus is not the 
supreme object of thy affections ! If I have 
precious earthly blessings. He has bestowed 
the gifts, and all are connected with that one 
gracious gift, the gift of Himself to this poor 
wavering heart. Accept, Lord, my weak 
trembling devotion : 

' Ye dearest ties of flesh and blood, 
Loose this fond heart, and give me whole to God.'" 

At the Conference of 1808 Mr. Newton was 
appointed to Huddersfield. Mrs. Newton 
having accompanied him on a visit to Derby 
before they togk possession of their new home, 
afterwards met Nanny and her infant in 
Huddersfield, to prepare the house for her 
husband's arrival. There was no need for any 
additional preparation, however ; thanks to the 
care of a thoughtful steward, Everjl\i\\i^ V^^ 
been already arranged. The ttaj ^^^ ^"^ "^^ 
1 3 

90 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

table for supper, with a cold fowl, and some 
Yorkshire ham, and a small decanter of sherry. 
There was an air of pleasant, homelike com- 
fort about the whole dwelling ; while without 
there were the picturesque woods, sloping 
broadly down the surrounding hills, now dressed 
in their sober autumn tints, little hills covered 
with pasture, and here and there the tall chimney, 
with patches of cloth spread out to bleach, 
as if on the green of a washerwoman. There 
was a small garden in front of the house : and 
here Mrs. Newton was afterwards accustomed 
to sit with her work-basket, and her pencil and 
paper. We select the following lines from 
many of her pieces of about this date : — 

" How sweet the feelings of a mother's breast, 
Which throbs with rapture o'er her babe at rest, 
And traces in her darling infant's face 
The father's features in each dawning grace ! 
Illusive Fancy bids the future rise 
In brightest forms before her .glistening eyes ; 
She thinks she hears the lisping prattler's tale, 
And feels its stam'ring eloquence prevail. 
Casts days and weeks and months behind, 
Sees reason dawning o'er the opening mind, — 
Sees infant sports and youthful follies end. 
And in the child anticipates the friend." 

Her diary at this period breathes the spirit 
of the serene peace that was in her heart We 
select the following passages : — 

^^I long for an assimilation to Thy lovely 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 91 

likeness. Give me, Lord, Thy charity divine ; 
Thy lowliness. Bestow these heavenly gifts 
on me. Thy Spirit breathes the desire. Con- 
firm my soul, and grant me in Thy love all, all 
I want. One year of my beloved husband's 
labours in this place is nearly gone. How 
many have been my mercies since I came 
to Huddersfield ! yet how many my errors ! 
What new evils have I learned of my own 
weak heart !" . \ 

" My dear partner's support amidst so much 
work, my beloved child's continued health, my 
own sweet prospects and maternal hopes, are 
indeed calls for daily gratitude. my heart, 
rise from these earthly objects to the great 
Author of all thy benefits ; let the Creator 
engross thy supreme affection. Religion I 
pure, holy enjoyment, may it be ever mine : 
then life is sweet ; and when death comes, my 
rest shall be glorious. Look down, blessed 
Saviour, and deliver me jfrom a love that 
borders on idolatry. Blessed, this day and for 
ever, be the God of all my mercies I I bless 
the day that led me to Thy cross. I bless the 
day that I became the wife of a servant of 

At Huddersfield Mrs. Newton met with, 
many kind friends, whose cultivated tastes, and 
true religious feeling, harmonized with he.^ 
own. Her husband's m'miatTy ^?v.^ cx'^'^^'^^ 

92 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

with the Master's approval, her heart wag 
blessed with lovely household treasures, and 
the two years glided sweetly on. Much regret 
was felt when the looked-for Conference came, 
and she and Mr. Newton were compelled to 
quit the happy circle they had formed. They 
were stationed in 1810 at Holmfirth, within a 
pleasant drive of their Huddersfield friends. 
During her husband's absence at Conference, 
Mrs. Newton ran down to see her old com- 
panion, Mrs. Jones, of Sheffield, formerly Miss 
Nightingale. During her visit at the house of 
Mrs. Jones, Mr. Newton writes to tell her that 
" they are removing their furniture ; and that 
he feels solitary in breakfasting for the last 
time in their lonely house." But he "hopes 
they shall be happy among the hills." 

" Our cottage-home, at Holmfirth," says 
Mrs. Newton, " stood behind a rising slope of 
meadow-land, and within a very short walk of 
Bing's-Wood, at that time a noble wood on the 
verge of a rocky hill. I was delighted with 
the picturesque country, and spent many happy 
mornings helping my little girls to gather 
nuts and blackberries with Nanny. The short 
distance between the two towns enabled us to 
jnaintain our intercourse with our friends at 
Huddersfield ; and if we found our new Circuit 
a little rough, we were none the less happy. I 
was sometimes asked how 1 co\x\d Ivk^ s\ich a 

Life of Mrs. Newtoju 93 

place. But a rough exterior covered much kind- 
ness : every cottage seemed to welcome me." 

Mrs. Newton was once startled by Nanny's 
coming in with her mysterious look : " Missis^ 
there's a man at the door who wants our 
master; and he's ^ agate' saying, ^Where's 
Robert?'" The stranger was asked to walk 
into the parlour, where the discovery was soon 
made of the high respect with which " Robert," 
or " our Robert," was regarded by the people, 
of the hills. The visitor wanted "Robert" to 
preach at " their chapel," and would take no 
denial till Mrs. Newton had promised to use 
her influence in the right direction. 

Those were the days of " General Ludd.'* 
The tragical death of Mr. Horsfall took place 
during Mr. Newton's residence at Holmfirth. 
As a Christian minister, and as a loyal and 
firm " Conservative," he did the utmost in his 
power to assist the magistrates in the exercise 
of their duty. Fire-arms were supposed to be 
concealed in the vestry of the chapel, or about 
the roof. The chapel-keeper was questioned ; 
but nothing was elicited from him to criminate 
him, beyond the fact that, from fear or some other 
motive, he would not divulge the Luddites' 
secrets. Mr. Newton caused him to be dismissed 
from his situation ; and after this circumstance 
Nanny, and Naomi, an assistant-servant who 
lived in the family until \iei ixi^xY\^<^^ ^^^<5k^ 

94 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

told in confidence that master was " a marked 
man." The good girls wisely kept their fears 
from their mistress; and their master was 
acquainted with the danger of his position. 
Robert Newton was, however, no coward. On 

the following Sunday morning, little B 

came running to her mamma, crying out that 
"papa was riding in Bing's-Wood with the 
soldiers in their red coats." He had been 
called up early to administer the sacrament 
to a dying person, and had happened to meet 
some soldiers, whose commander asked him to 
assist them in the discovery of fire-arms said 
to be concealed in the wood. We believe it 
was on the following morning that there was 
a little stir opposite the house, and Nanny, 
coming in and out to her mistress, looked moro 
mysterious than ever. Mrs. Newton insisted 
upon knowing what was the matter ; and it 
turned out that a loaded pistol, folded up in a 
child's waistcoat, was found hidden just oppo- 
site the door. Mrs. Newton felt glad after 
that to see the " red coats," as her children 
called them, and to hear the clatter of their 
horses' hoofs about the hills. But Providence 
preserved her husband; and the leading magis- 
trate wrote to him afterwards to thank him for 
his firmness and assistance. 

A party of these mistaken men on one occa- 
aion entered a house, it was told Mrs. Newton 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 95 

by an eye-witness, and asked for food. They 
had already demolished the machinery in the 
adjoining mill; but there was no resistance 
offered. Bread and bacon were set before them; 
and the good woman of the house, who had 
been reading her Bible, resumed her seat, and 
again quietly turned over the leaves of the 
sacred book. One of the intruders walked up 
to the clock, and said, " General Ludd doesn't 
like clocks!" at the same time smashing it 
with a hammer: he then leaned over the 
worthy lady, pointing out to her certain 
passages of Scripture which were, in his opinion, 
favourable to democracy. 

A single extract from the diary will suffice 
to show that the life of the soul was at this 
time maintained : — 

" Once more have I vowed before Thy 
congregation to be Thy child, and dared to 
acknowledge in public the sacred covenant in 
which I have engaged. Thou Infinite Good- 
ness ! with trembling I approach Thee. Wilt 
Thou admit me for Thine own, and wilt Thou 
caU me Thine? my God, my covenant-help 
in every time of need? Then what have I to 
fear while Omnipotence is my defence, and the 
same power that called all nature into exist- 
ence stands engaged, by the most solemn 
assurances, to succour my weakness and e\ikafck\a 
me to triumph over the tem^t^XAoras* c>S. ^<^^ 

9G Life of Mrs, Newton, 

adversary ? Thou Friend of my soul, I take 
Thee for my portion ! I ask not the fulfilment 
of my own wishes, but that my will may be 
lost in Thine, and that in all my actions Thy 
glory may be my aim. I look again 

' To that bright shore, 
Where sin and sorrow tear the soul no more.* 

Surrounded as I am with every earthly com- 
fort, I feel that this is not my rest : I seek 
one above. 0, may I ensure the possession of 
this, whatever I enjoy, or whatever I am called 
to suffer ! Christ is my Rock — my all ; and 
here my tossed soul lies at anchor; here is 
my rest, the foundation of my hope. After 
Him my soul aspires. Grant me, in Thy love, 
all, all I want." 

"Last Wednesday was the period looked 
forward to with so much delight, when the 
new chapel was opened. The love and pleasure 
I felt in the society of my old and new friends, 
and the pleasing circumstances under which 
we met, seemed to give us a foretaste of the 
joy of angels. The morning was fine. Our 
friends seemed gratified. Mr. Bunting de- 
livered his message in his usual masterly, 
impressive, and persuasive maimer." 

The birth of Mr. Newton's eldest son 

took place at Holmfirth, and he was dedi- 

cated to God in baptism by tlieir friend Mr, 

Life of Mrs, N'ewton. 97 

Bunting, Mrs. Ifewton tlius refers to this 
event in her diary : — 

"How have my fears been disappointed, and 
my most sanguine hopes realised, in the safe 
arrival of a lovely boy ! My life is spared, and 
my strength is restored. Encouraged by past 
mercies, and in the delightful sense of sin 
forgiven, I commit my all to Thy keeping. I 
cast myself on the boundless mercy of God in 
Christ Jesus. Let not the dear gifts Thy 
goodness has bestowed tie my soul to this 
perishing world ; for how difficult do I find it 
to say, ' I could leave them in Thine hands, and 
come to Thee : ' 

* Unfettered by all loves below, 
To Thee with joyful rapture go T " 

A few months later she writes : — 
" The time draws near when we must ex- 
change the prospect of romantic hills and wild 
rocks, for the gay scenes of the metropolis. 
God, many have been Thy mercies to us 
since we came here. My soul adores Thee 
for them. Choose Thou our future inheritance 
for us. May our appointment be of Thee. 
May my husband's ministry be owned of Thee ; 
and may I be such as Thy word approves : 
* By Thee directed in the way we tread, 
By Heaven supported and by Heaven led. 
We onward press, — our soul the world defies, — 
Through Thee omnipotent to gain thft y^yz.^^ 
And muiint at length triumpYiaivV, to Wvc ^y^'& V'' 

98 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

After spending a day or two with her friend 
Mrs. Jones at Sheffield, and paying a brief 
visit to Mr. Turner at Derby, Mr. and Mrs. 
Newton arrived at their London home. Dr. 
Adam Clarke was the first to welcome them. 
He found the children alone in the parlour, 
and told them to run and fetch their father 
to see their "uncle Adam." "I am your 
father's brother," he went on to explain ; " so 
I am your uncle." The cheerful message 
was eagerly conveyed by the eldest little girl, 
who wanted to know more about this new 

Mr. Newton had a superior house in London, and 
there was every inducement to make a residence 
there desirable ; but his wife loved the country, 
and, like her two faithful servants, she longed 
to hear the dear Yorkshire brogue again. Then 
the children echoed her feelings, as children 
always do : they wanted " to go home, and 
gather flowers and blackberries on the hills." 
Mrs. Newton's health suffered from confine- 
ment in the town, and the tone of her mind 
appears to have been sad and depressed. 

" Most of my time here," she says, " is 
spent in much weakness of body and depression 
of soul. I still hold my confidence in God, but 
I hold it with a trembling hand. Often have I 
shrunk from bodily indisposition, and wished 
the cup might pass from me. Sometimes the 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 99 

cry of my soul is, ^ Let the end of this dispen- 
sation be answered in my growth in grace, and 
I will not ask its removal.' My life is in His 
hands ; but I cannot overcome the languor of 
spirit that I feel. I view the most interesting 
objects with indijfference. I hear of the joys 
of heaven or the terrors of hell with insensibi- 
lity. ' Quicken Thou me, according to Thy 
word ;' and if anything hinders the growth of 
Thy grace in my heart, cost what it may, 
Lord, remove it. I desire to make the sacrifice 
in Thy strength. Let me live or die in Thy 
service, Thou everlasting Good. Small is 
my progress in the Divine life ; but blessed be 
the hand of supporting grace which has kept 
me Zion-ward." 

During her residence in London, she renewed 
her intimacy with her early friend, her cousin. 
The companion of her childhood now resided at a 
delightful retreat at Fulham, where her amiable 
character had endeared her to all her acquaint- 
ance, and led the pious Bishop Porteus occa- 
sionally to seek her society. She also fre- 
quently visited her uncle, who was now an 
invalid, and who had pleasure in conversing 
with her husband. This gentleman had paid 
her a short visit at Huddersfield ; when he was 
so much pleased with what he saw of Mr. 
Newton's public ministry, that he offered to 
build him a church at liis o^nh ^^^^\i^^^ ^^s^^-^ 
K 2 

100 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

in town or elsewhere, if he would accept epis- 
copal ordination. This proposal was at once 
declined. Mr. Newton was resolved " to live 
and die a plain Methodist preacher." Their 
intercourse was not, however, interrupted. 
Mrs. Nodes also spent some time with her 
daughter in the metropolis. 

Had Mrs. Newton ^s health been better, she 
might have entered with interest into those 
stirring events which awakened the attention 
of all England in 1814; but her weakness 
forbade her to leave the sofa, when others were 
crowding to see the gathering of the four 
crowned heads. Nanny talked of these won- 
ders to her dying day : " I saw the Empora 
of Rush-a, and the King of Prush-a, and the 
King of France, and the Empora of Austrie ;" 
always concluding her story with, " And the 
]^]mpora of Rush-a was a pleasant-looking 
gentleman, just like our Mr. Bunting." Mrs. 
Newton was more interested in the employ- 
ment of Dr. Coke and her husband, who were 
then, under Providence, laying the foundation 
of that great work which is now sustained 
and directed by the Wesleyan Missionary 

At theConferenceof 1814Mr.Newton resolved 

to leave London, on account of his wife's failing 

health. Mr. Mortimer, the Circuit-steward, 

called upon Mrs, Newton to lemoxi^tiate with 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 101 

her, and to induce her to influence her hus- 
band to remain where his ministry was so 
eminently useful. "He said strong things 
to me," she says in her diary; "but I 
told him plainly that my life was nothing. 
Mr. Newton could get another wife ; but 
perhaps he might not get a mother for my 

But Mr. Newton was equally firm ; and good 
Mr. Barber, who had known Mrs. Newton in 
Sheffield, urged him to remove her to the 
country as soon as possible. Her diary at this 
period displays her anxiety to do right, but 
also a natural wish still to live, and " lean on 
earth's frail love : " — 

" my heart, when wilt thou be estab- 
lished ? When shall I be able to say, ' None of 
these things move me?' How the creature 
attracts my affections to this world, and my 
dearest gifts are in danger of weighing me 
down ! May my soul be unfettered by any tie, 
and walk in liberty. I feel Thy wisdom can- 
not err, and without reserve I offer myself to 
Thy guidance. Choose my inheritance, and 
direct my way." 

The accompanying lines are added, and 
breathe the same spirit : — 

" So the poor wretch that treads the slanting steep, 
Wild rocks above, beneath the foaming deep. 
Steps trembling o*er the d\i\yvo\xB» ^vg^erj ^^'^ ^ 
Afmid. to go, yet ah, aftald to ata.^, — 

102 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

Kejoicing grasps the offer'd hand to guide, 

And safely gains again the mountain-side. 

Thus, through a slippery path and dangerous road, 

I'd grasp the arm omnipotent of God ; 

Supported walk, though foaming billows roll, 

And threatening break before my trembling soul ; 

Onward I press, in weakness stronger grown. 

And make through faith Almighty Strength my own." 

Mr. Newton's friends in Yorkshire embraced 
the opportunity of soliciting his services, and 
he was stationed accordingly, at the ensuing 
Conference, at Wakefield ; and right thankfully 
did Mrs. Newton and the children, with Nanny 
and Naomi, pass again in a post-chaise over 
the dear Sheffield moors, where the black- 
berries and whinberries hung in the autumn 
sun, and the sportsman was heard in pursuit 
of the startled grouse. The family rested at 
the house of Mr. Turner, of Derby ; as also with 
Mr. and Mrs. Jones, at Sheffield. At the former 
place they met Michael Sadler, then, we believe, 
M.P. for Leeds ; and a most agreeable evening 
was spent with him, Mr. Newton having joined 
his family at the hospitable home of Mr. 
Turner. The preacher's house at West-Parade, 
Wakefield, will be remembered by many who 
have no recollection of the happy day when 
Mr. and Mrs. Newton were so kindly met there 
by Mr. Spicer the steward, Mr. Walton, and 
otbersy now, we trust, united with them in a 
happier mansion. " I give yo\x joy , my ^^^t^' 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 103 

said Mr. Newton, as soon as they were alone ; 
but she could not answer him for tears of 
gratitude. This was the commencement of 
three of the happiest years of their united 

" What shall I render unto the Lord ?" says 
Mrs. Newton, as we again refer to her diary. 
"Blessed be the name of the Lord for His 
continued mercies. I have nothing to wish for ! 
Thy bounty leaves me without a want, but for 
more grace ; without a wish, but to make Thee 
a return for all Thy benefits. Goodness follows 
me every moment 0, may I dwell in the 
house of the Lord for ever ! I have prospects 
beyond my most sanguine hopes. My health 
is restored. I am situated just where I 
wished to be. My beloved husband has the 
prospect of usefulness. May the anxious 
desire I feel for the people here be realised. 
My soul sinks at the feet of my adorable 
Master, overwhelmed with His great goodness, 
and can only say, * Hast Thou a work for me to 
do in Thy vineyard ? Here I am, send me : I 
am willing to follow Thee. I acknowledge 
my unworthiness ; but I ask Thy gracious 

At Wakefield Mrs. Newton formed the 
acquaintance of the Rev. Richard Watson. 
She was engaged in instructing ket ckvVdx^^j^ 
when sLe first saw him-, aiid,\ie^mm\^^^^'>^^ 

104 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

" the alphabet," which was scattered about the 
table, he entered into a long and pleasing con- 
versation with her on the advantages of home- 
education. They often met afterwards at the 
house of Mr. Walton. Mr. and Mrs. Bunting 
were stationed at Leeds about this time ; and 
Mrs. Bunting kindly invited her old friend to 
accompany her husband, who was engaged to 
attend one of the first Wesleyan Missionary 
Meetings there. 

"I found Mrs. Bunting at the preacher*s 
house in Albion-street," she says, "dressing 
her baby; and after a few hours' pleasant chat, 
we went to the big chapel, which was filled to 
overflowing. Mr. Watson, Mr. Bunting, my- 
husband, and others spoke ; among whom I 
well remember Winter Hamilton, then a young 
man just entering upon public life." 

Mr. Newton's sisters Mary and Ann visited 
him in this year, shortly before they lost their 
venerable father, who died in the faith and 
triumph of the Gospel. His death was the only 
shadow of mourning that passed over the happy 
family during their residence at West-Parade. 

" Our time has passed in peace and comfort 
at this place, and my heart feels grateful at the 
recollection," continues Mrs. Newton. " Sweet 
were the tears of joy and thankfulness that fell 
from my eyes when I entered the dwelling 
allotted to us, and saw around me «l\\ tlvat my 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 105 

fancy delighted in. I cast myself on my knees 
before God, and said, ' What shall I render 
unto the Lord ? ' I have been in many 
instances unfaithful to such goodness, and yet 
mercy and goodness have still followed me. 
The delight that I felt on my first entrance on 
this Circuit was but a foretaste of the joy and 
comfort I have since experienced. I cannot 
expect such temporal comfort elsewhere ; but I 
think, if my heart does not deceive me, I am 
willing to forego some of those comforts at the 
call of my Divine Master, to promote His cause 
on the earth. Let Thy voice, Lord, call, 
and I feel willing to obey. Let Thy presence 
only cheer us. Confirm the confidence I feel 
that not ' a sparrow falls to the ground ' with- 
out my Heavenly Father, and that Thy children 
are in Thy sight of infinitely more value ; — 
all their steps shall be ordered of Thee ; — 
yea. Thou Thyself wilt choose their in- 

Mrs. Newton left the following lines, written 
in pencil, in the summer-house where she was 
accustomed to sit with her children at their 
lessons : — 

" Yes, should Thy blest voice repeat, 

* Pilgrim, urge thy lagging feet, 
Erublem this of life's short race, 
Here thou hast no resting-place ! ' 
Unreluctant would I say, 

* Be my Guide, and T\\ obe^ V 

106 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

Yet, ye fields of verdant green, 
Soon by me no longer seen, 
As I turn my sorrowing eyes 
Where the lovely landscape lies, 
Though resigned, I drop the tear ; 
Still will memory linger here." 

It would appear from some passages in 
letters of this date, that Mr. Newton sympa- 
thized strongly with his wife in her love for 
" merry Wakefield :" — 

>*By Mr. Griffith you have been informed 
that we stand on the * Stations ' for Bath, with 
Mr. Lessey, jun. Of course I shall demand a 
scrutiny in public Conference when the ^ Sta- 
tions ' are read, although all the preachers with 
whom I have conversed say that we ought to go 
to Bath. How it will be decided I know not. I 
shall say and do all I dare to return to Wake- 
field. Dr. Clarke is here, and preached us an 
excellent sermon yesterday. Mr. Reece is our 
president, and Mr. Bunting our secretary. 
Mr. Bradbum is no more: he expired on 
Saturday morning. I have to attend a meeting 
of the Camden-Town Bible Association to- 
morrow. The meeting is to be held in the 
tea-gardens of \\\q Ramsden Arms, a kind of 

" My dearest E may perhaps be sur- 

priscd to hear from mc here ; but it probably 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 107 

may be after the postman has done * agitating 
his tinkler,' that I arrive at Bedford-square to- 
morrow. Besides, I have a few moments to 
si)are, and I could not resist the inclination I 
feel to converse with you, though but through 
the cold medium of ink and [japer. Add to 
this, I have an opportunity of sending this into 
Yorkshire by private hand. So much by way 
of apology for writing to my own dearest wife. 
But I forgot to say at the beginuing, I hope 
this will find you and the children well, as it 
leaves me at present I think my inclination 
to remain another year at Wakefield has 
increased since I left home. I do hope, if it is 
for the best, Providence will so appoint it" 

By a new arrangement of Conference they 
were accordingly stationed at Wakefield for 
another year. 

We must now follow the femily to Liver- 
pool, to which Circuit Mr. Newton was 
ai>pointed by the Conference of 1817. Mrs. 
Newton travelled, as she usually had done, in 
a post-cliaise, with her young family, and 
Nanny and Naomi her servants ; Mr. Newton 
having left her a few days previously. She 
had again new friends to make ; but the kind 
and hospitable reception she met with from 
the Circuit-stewards made her feel that in 
Wesleyan Methodism there \a\)\3iV ou<ii ^"axcL^^ 

108 Life of Mrs. Newto7u 

She had left Wakefield with much regret ; but 
she was soon at home in the preacher's house 
in Finch-street, within a few yards of Bruns- 
wick Chapel, in which Mr. Newton opened his 
commission. She found friendly neighbours in 
the two ladies who lived beneath the same 
roof. Miss Birch and her sister, although not 
Wesleyans, were true and faithful followers of 
Christ. They were then engaged in the 
education of their niece and nephew, who were 
much pleased to meet with congenial playmates 
in the little Newtons. Mr. Thomas Ragland, 
the nephew, lived to realise his good aunt's 
wishes, becoming a distinguished clergyman, 
and dying an Indian missionary. At that 
time he was a merry boy, engaged with the 
childish pleasures of tops and marbles ; and not 
unfrequently did the motlier of little Nodes 
Newton talk with his aunt on the responsi- 
bilities of their charge. 

At this period Mr. and Mrs. Newton enjoyed 
the pleasure of intercourse with many ministers 
of other denominations ; and they renewed their 
intimacy with Dr. Adam Clarke, who then 
resided at Milbrook. Friendships were renewed, 
and friendships formed that never grew old. 
There was Mr. Thomas Kaye, the editor of the 
^* Liverpool Courier," and the familiar associate 
of Richard Watson ; there was the hospitable 
fumily at '^ the cottage," some of whom are 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 109 

probably yet living to remember the names of 
Adam Clarke, and Robert Newton, and Jabez 
Bunting. During her residence at Liverpool 
two more little girls were added to Mrs, 
Newton's flock. Again is the fond wish 
breathed in her diary, that the infant now 
launched on life's troubled waters may pass 
safely to the j)ort of everlasting rest; and again 
a mother's prayer is ardently offered, which has 
been already singularly fulfilled. Surely He 
who sees the end from the beginning dictated 
that prayer by His Holy Spirit. On both these 
occasions Mrs. Newton speedily recovered. 

" Five weeks have elapsed," she says, "since, 
in the prospect of nature's sorrow, I looked to 
Thee for help. Scarcely was tlie supplication 
made before the Lord heard and answered. 
May I ever remember that ^ Thou God seest 
me,' and act under the influence of this recol- 
lection. This morning, October 7th, I heard 
Dr. Clarke. I count it amongst my privileges 
here, that I have the opportunity of his occa- 
sional ministry. I was edified with his remarks 
on the subject of the observance of the Sabbath. 
He said, ' God is in Himself perfectly happy, 
who can derive no benefit from the services of 
His creatures. Every requirement of His must 

therefore be intended for their good 

The striking introduction to the Fourth Com- 
mandment— ifewi^wii^r—pTON^a to\x^^'^'^<^'^^^ 

110 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

was not enforcing a new, but an old, command. 
God's resting on the seventh day was designed 
to be to us a type of our endless rest in heaven; 
a type which will notpass away : one day in seven 
is to be hallowed on the earth until the anti- 
type appears in the beginning of the eternal 
Sabbath.' The Doctor went on to show the 
physical advantages derived from this day of 
rest. May I find the Sabbath ' a delight,' 
and seek to sanctify it in my own home, in 
the arrangement of house-duties, and in the 
management of my children and servants. 
The weight of domestic duties often oppresses 
me ; but may I find in God my rest I feel 
weak in myself, and unable to struggle with the 
corruption of hiy own erring nature. my 
merciful Saviour, I give myself* to Thee, with 
gratitude for Thy past benefits ! Let me ever 
be Thine. Save me in life and death. In 
looking forward, I am led to anticipate many 
cares. God, ^ our help in ages past,' let 
Thy smile sweeten the hour of trial I How 
important do I feel the charge of my dear 
children! May I have Thy direction in the 
performance of my maternal duties ; and may 
I be enabled to fulfil the engagements my soul 
would make with Thee." 

The three years at Liverpool passed, and no 

shadow fell on the preacher's house in Finch- 

street The children recovered from their infan- 

Life of Mrs. Newton. Ill 

tine troubles of whooping-cough and measles, 
and the little flock were all strong and healthy 
when the annual Conference of 1820 met, and 
Mr. Newton's family was again under " march- 
ing orders." The distance to their new 
home was not great, however. Mr. Newton 
was appointed to Manchester; and, after a 
pleasant journey, in their usual mode of con- 
veyance, only interrupted by sickness occasioned 
by the children's indulging too freely in 
*^ Eccles cakes," they were put down in 
Grosvenor-street They had left their friends 
at Liverpool ; and Mrs. Newton, and her elder 
daughters and their governess, were all sad as 
they entered the preacher's house, and gazed 
from the upper windows into the dingy street, 
crossed by another, which was then, we believe, 
called " Down-garret" But Manchester was 
not a cheerless place, even at that time of day ; 
and there were many kind and true-hearted 
friends waiting to welcome the preacher and 
his family to tiie town of " mobs and cotton." 
Soon the dark streets were brightened by an 
illumination from countless small windows, as 
the factories were lighted up, and the busy 
burring wheels began their music. There was 
the pattering of feet, some of them, then, very 
little feet, on their way to the mills ; and the 
buzz and stir in the streets reminded the 
inmates of the preacher's Viowa^ \)a3aX,^^NR^^ 

112 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

in a working world. Presently Mrs. Newton 
was affectionately received by Mr. and Mrs. 
John Marsden, the Circuit-steward and his 
wife : Mr. Lessey and Mr. Hawtrey joined them 
at the hospitable board at supper. They had 
much to talk of. The Chartism of that period, 
embodied under the form that we have seen 
at Holmfirth, was crushed by the law; but 
there was yet in the manufacturing towns a 
deep under-current of dissatisfied feeling, which 
showed itself in resistance to the powers that 
be, whether the King, as supreme, or the 
gentle unostentatious government of the 
Methodist preacher and the class-leader. But 
the spirit of faith and prayer was strong in the 
heart of many a poor mechanic ; and if there 
was much to discourage, there was also much 
to awaken interest in the mind of the Christian 
minister. Mr. and Mrs. Newton were soon at 
home in their sphere of labour. His ministry 
was eflScient; and she worked quietly, with 
several other ladies, in attempting to give a 
domestic character to the young girls of the 
factories. The congregations in the chapel in 
Oldham-street were overflowing ; and when the 
swell of voices rose in choral harmony to the 
good old Methodist tunes, lovers of music 
have said that few oratorios could be more 
^^J remember those old times some forty- 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 113 

three years ago," says a friend of the writer, 
" when Robert Newton preached in the large 
mother-church in Oldham-street, and every 
nook and comer was filled with earnest waiting 
listeners. They had no organ then ; but the 
singing-gallery was crowded with singers ; and 
the ftdl choir of voices was as good as one of 
Handel's choruses, when all rose up to sing the 
^ Old Hundredth ' to those words in Wesley's 
Hymn-Book, ^ Before Jehovah's awM throne.' 
The attention during the sermon was so great, 
one might hear a pin drop. A thousand 
eager faces hung upon the lips of the preacher ; 
and at prayer tiiere was a rolling murmur of 
' Amen ' that breathed the spirit of primitive 

And this was not mere outward eflTect : true 
religion, under the simple form of Wesleyan 
Methodism, had taken deep root in the hearts 
of the Manchester people ; may we not say, in 
the heart of Manchester herself? The pulse of 
life in that growing population, mighty for 
good or evil, was in no slight degree affected by 
the denominational peculiarities of Methodism ; 
and we think that few impartial observers of the 
history of that interesting city, for the last half 
century, will deny, that she owes much of the 
excellence found in the character of the working 
masses to the teaching of the followers of John 

114 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

Mr. and Mrs. Newton had no occasion to 
regret their residence in the preacher's house 
in Grosvenor-street. The retired parlour over- 
looking the dingy street was bright with happy 
faces, and was never sobered by sickness or 
death during the three years they spent beneath 
that roof. In the summer of 1822 Mrs. 
Newton rejoined some of her Liverpool friends 
at the sea-side ; and Mr. Newton, as it appears 
from passages in the following letters, paid 
his first visit to Dublin, lingering for a few 
days at Waterloo. 

" What," he says, ^^will my dearest Eliza 
think on the reception of this? This is 

Wednesday evening, and I am at Mr. C '» 

cottage, at Waterloo, instead of being in sight 
of Dublin. It is time I began to explain. 
We arrived safe at Liverpool at half-past two 
o'clock, and dined at the ^ Angel.' On 
inquiring about the steam-boat, we learned, 
to our no small mortification, that no vessel 
would sail from Liverpool for Dublin till 
Thursday morning. I then walked up to 

Mr. C *s, and afterwards drove him and 

Mr. H » to Waterloo, where we found Dr. 

and Mrs. Clarke, Mrs. Kaye, and Miss Clarke. 
The live-long day I have spent here: Miss 

T has kindly accompanied me cottage- 

hanting. We found one, everything you could 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 115 

wish. How would my dearest E have 

enjoyed the day, had she been with us ! Often 
did my thoughts follow my heart to Grosvenor- 

The next letter is dated "Dublin :"— 

"We had a delightful passage. The day 
proved fine, and the company was agreeable. 
I was not in the least sick, and got the credit 
of being an excellent sailor. On our approach- 
ing the quay, my own name was the first that I 
heard. A gentleman then came on board who 
recognised me, and said, ^You're welcome!' 
He informed me that we were expected at Mr. 

P 's, York-street. On his leaving us, H 

and I got back to back in a car, and Pat set 
off with us. ' And plase your honor, I forgets, 
now, where this York-street is,' says the 
driver. Going up Parliament-street he had a 
mind to make a fiourish ; but his horse stood 
stock still. On our arrival at York-street, the 
clock struck twelve, and the family were gone 
to bed. We then drove to the hotel in Sack- 
ville-street ; but they were full We got at 
last comfortably accommodated at this hotel. 
I set off this evening at eight for Cork ; Sunday, 
Bandon; Tuesday, Cork; Wednesday, Limerick; 
Thursday, Roscrea ; Friday, Mountrath ; Satur- 
day, Dublin again, where I hope to receive a 
letter from my dearest "E . ^^ tk^ ^<^%2t^^ 

116 Life of Mrs. Newioft, 

life, often have we been separated by hills and 
dales, but never before did ocean roll between ! 
But no, we can never be separated. We are 
one for eternity. The Bank and public build- 
ings are fine here; but Dublin as a whole is not 
to be compared with Edinbro'. . . . Give 
their father's love to the dear children; and 
as my pen cannot, let your own heart tell you 
with how much affection and tenderness 
" I am your own 

" R Newton." 

Mrs. Newton met her husband at Liverpool 
in the course of a few weeks ; and he joined 
his family at the cottage he had hunted out for 
them, returning with them to Grosvenor- street 
the following Sunday. 

In the spring of the following year, Mr. 
Newton visited his relatives in Yorkshire. 

" I was most agreeably entertained at Mr. 

B s," he writes to Mrs. Newton, dating his 

letter from Newcastle; " and I have found Miss 
B a very superior young lady. Our con- 
gregations were large I found 

my family all well. They had published for 
me to preach the Missionary sermons at the 
Bay without my knowledge ; and the people 
at Whitby made me ashamed by the kindness 
and respect they manifested. What am I, 
Lord, a poor worm, that Thou shouldst give 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 117 

me such favour in the eyes of the people ! My 
dear life will pray for me that I may be found 
faithful. As I find I cannot reach home on 
Friday without travelling all the preceding 
night, ioT your sake I will rest." 

While Mr. Newton was thus engaged in his 
public duties, the quiet home-circle was ruflBied 
by the event of Naomi's marriage to a pious 
class-leader, in well-to-do circumstances ; and 
the little girls had no small delight in assisting 
their elder sisters to deck out Nanny in a lilac 
sarsnet dress, in which, as bride's-maid, she fol- 
lowed the worthy couple down to the old church. 

Mrs. Newton's next removal was to Salford ; 
and it was during her residence there that 
she induced Mrs. Nodes, who had sufifered 
very serious pecuniary losses, in consequence 
of the failure of one of the Yorkshire 
Banks, to leave her home, and reside under 
their roof for the remainder of her days. 
She arrived in the winter of 1825 ; and scarcely 
two months later had the satisfaction of hearing 
of the safe arrival of her daughter's second and 
youngest son, who became the solace of her 
declining years. 

" My heart acknowledges His blessings, and 
ray tongue would speak His praise," writes 
Mrs. Newton, in her diary. ^^My prospects 
open with every promise of comfort. If I 
have some trifling drawbacks, wkat vw:q. ^^^1 

118 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

My husband has a thom in the flesh," — alluding 
to the temporary loss of the sight of his left 
eye, from which he recovered in the course of 
another year: — "my parent has suffered the 
loss of this world's good ; and sometimes family 
cares weigh down my soul to earth. But Thou, 

Lord, givest me grace sufficient for the day. 

1 give myself afresh to Thee. Accept me, 
through Jesus Christ my Lord ; and let Thy 
Spirit still witness with mine that I am bom 
of God." 

About the beginning of the next year, 
February 14th, Mr. Newton's only surviving 
parent departed hence, in the hope and triumph 
of the Gospel ; having had the opportunity, at 
her own request, of once more seeing her son 
Robert, and taking leave of him. 

" I visited her," says Mr. Eatcliffe, "a few 
weeks before her death ; when she expressed 
her entire confidence in the blood of Christ. 
^ I know,' she said, ^ that my Redeemer liveth. 
Jesus is all in all. In looking back, I see no 
ground of reliance in anything I have done ; 
but He is the foundation of niy hope.'" 

Thus confidently, in life's decline, at the age 
of eighty-three years, could she speak of her 
prospects beyond the grave. 

Before leaving Salford, Mr. Newton bought 
a house at Southport ; then an obscure hamlet 
of bcslUqiq^ mud cottages among sand-hills, 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 119 

enlivened by a single row or street of small 
lodging-houses. There was no chapel at the 
place at that time ; but the friends hired one 
of these uncouth cottages, at the extremity of a 
sandy lane, in which Divine worship was cele- 
brated. Mrs. Nodes took up her abode at this 
retired watering-place, along with one or two 
of Mr. Newton's children; and during the 
summer the entire family passed some 
months, in this way, at the sea-side. Mr. 
Pipe, Mr. Newton's early associate at Eother- 
ham, followed the example, with his family. 
He had now relinquished his connexion with 
public life, and hoped to find a suitable sphere 
for his declining years in this neglected comer. 
Mrs. Nodes " took in" preachers, whether from 
Ormskirk or from Liverpool, and attended 
Divine service herself in the house in the 
lane. There are few, probably, remaining who 
can remember the Southport of forty years ago, 
and can contrast the present busy, bustling 
watering-place, with the bleak lodging-houses 
among the sand-hills, and the mud-built cot- 
tage in which the Methodist preachers opened 
their commission. 

When the Conference appointed Mr. Newton 
to Liverpool, Mrs. Newton, accompanied by 
Mrs. Nodes and the younger children, with 
Nanny, left Southport in the afternoon of an 
autumnal day, and after a di\\e cii ^i^e^ V^assc^. 

120 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

were welcomed by their old friend, Mr. C , 

to their new Circuit. Three joyous years were 
before them all. The tall house in Mill- 
street, at that time the preacher's temporary 
home, overlooked the broad, bright river; 
and Mrs. Newton was perhaps the happiest of 
the circle. Her husband's ministry was blessed 
by the Divine Master of assemblies ; her health 
and his own (for he had lately suffered from a 
dangerous attack of bilious fever) was restored ; 
her children were growing up around her, some 
of them already entering life in the blush of 
girlhood, some of them prattling still in the 
nursery, and no bitter cares or fears had hitherto 
disturbed the mother's heart for their future 
weal. But prosperity has its dangers ; and as 
we peruse her journal we are not surprised to 
read, — 

" I feel it needful to watch against the evils 
that most easily beset me. I am too often 
careful and troubled about many things, — 
too anxious about the things of this world. 
Innocent conversation, about the usual hour of 
prayer, too often proves a hindrance to me in 
that soul-supporting duty. Our society is 
courted, and it is difficult to associate with the 
careless and irreligious, and maintain the 
spiritual mind ; and yet it is not easy to draw 
the line, and decline the intercourse of our 
acqaaintance that know not CVvTiat. O Lord, 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 121 

guide me through the billows that make me 
afraid, and let me see the dear children 
Thou hast given me grow up in Thy faith and 

During her residence at Liverpool, her eldest 
daughter was united in marriage to a mer- 
chant of that town; and her eldest son, 
now in his fifteenth year, was suflfered to leave 
school, and take his first step in life as a clerk 
in a merchant's oflSce. These were two imr 
portant changes ; for one of the domestic 
circle had quitted home for the guardianship 
of a stranger, and another, young, unsophis- 
ticated, and inexperienced, had gone forth, to 
meet life's temptations, possessed of rare and 
perilous gifts which were too sure to attract 
and draw down upon him the lurid " lightning 
happiness" of this world's smiles. 

We must not forget the opening of Stanhope- 
street Chapel, which took place in the spring 
following Mr. Newton's appointment to the 
Liverpool Circuit. At first the family had at- 
tended Pitt-street Chapel, which was at a con- 
siderable distance from the preacher's house; and 
the day when the new " Zion" was to be opened 
was looked forward to with eager expectation, 
especially as in this place of worship the Liturgy 
of the Church of England was to be used, a 
desideratum which Mrs. Newton had long felt 
in her devotions. The anticipated. ^«;^ ^i\s^^^ 


122 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

and the bright building of red brick, now grown 
so faded and dingy, was filled with happy faces, 
eager to hear the venerable Adam Clarke preach 
the first sermon in the sacred edifice. Mr. 
Newton read the liturgical service, and then 
the preacher ascended the pulpit. We can well 
remember him in his singular blue coat, his 
snow-white hair, his plain, practical sermon, 
and the hymn which, as the phrase is, " he 
gave out" two lines at a time :^ 

" Ye neighbours and friends, To Jesus draw near ; 
His love condescends, By titles so dear," &c. 

It was but a few years before the venerated 
Doctor finished his course ; and he preached as 
one who had only time to deliver briefly the 
Gospel message, dealing in homely, plainly- 
spoken truths, and commending the service of 
his Master to his hearers from the life-experi- 
ence of threescore years and ten. The service 
ended, the congregation dispersed amid the 
interchange of much happy feeling ; and Mr. 
Newton mightbe seen at the door of his house, his 
infant son in scarlet petticoats at his side, invit- 
ing group after group of friends from the country 
to enter beneath the hospitable roof. " Come, 
friends, we have open house on this occasion : 
walk in; Mrs. Newton is in the dinner-room." 
And, 1 what fragrant savour came up from the 
busy kitchen^ where Nanny was still at work 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 123 

with her Yorkshire currant-cakes for tea, in 
case any should wish to hear Richard Watson 
in tlie afternoon, and return to the preacher's 
house to be ready for the evening sermon. 
Those services were finished by Mr. Bunting, 
whose plain, practical sermon on the Sunday 
following the Wednesday may yet, haply, be 
remembered by the boys and girls of Jordan- 
street school, — now, it may be, sedate men 
and women; for the writer still vividly re- 
calls the enthusiasm with which they sang the 

" m praise my Maker while Tve breath," — 

the old, familiar Methodist tune still ringing 
in the ears. Ah, how many since that day 
have finished their course, whether of weal or 
woe I and not a few, we may hope, are now 
singing their hymns of praise in sweeter voices 
around the throne of God and of the Lamb. 
The late Rev. John Bowers was stationed at 
Liverpool, and the late Mrs. Bowers was a near 
neighbour and valued friend of Mrs. Newton 
and her family, in the second year of her 
husband's ministry there. During a long ill- 
ness Mrs. Newton had frequent opportunities of 
visiting her friend ; and we find the following 
lines inserted in her diary, inscribed, "On 

the death of Mrs. B ,'' o^ ^\ift«>^ ^^^^'^'^^S. 


124 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

departure she had been an edified, though 
mourning, spectator. We select only a few 
lines : — 

" The last sad scene, the fatal conflict's o*er ; 
The spirit's fled— our gentle friend's no more. 
The wife and mother, with that parting sigh 
Left earthly ties for stronger bonds on higL 
Attendant angels bear their sister home ; 
And Jesus, smiling, bids His ransom'd come. 

Won by the grace of her all-conquering Lord, 

Her heart she open'd to receive His word, 

And gave, in early life, the rose of youth 

To bloom and flourish in the paths of truth ; 

Early the consecrated way she trod, 

Led by a faithful messenger of God. 

And when the awful hour of suflfring came, 

And deep affliction weigh'd her sinking frame. 

While busy fancy portray'd in her mind 

Her babes and husband, — all to be resigned, — 

Nature recoil'd ; but grace triumphant shone. 

And she could meekly say, * Thy will be done :* 

And in the arms of her redeeming Lord, 

She bless'd His name, smiled, and adored ; 

Then fled the spirit from its house of clay, . 

To mix with heaven's bright throng in endless day. 

So sleep the righteous ! — 0, my Lord, may I 

Live with Thy church, and learn of Thee to die." 

To turn again to the diary, we trace the same 
spirit : — 
^^I see iuman life is fleeting and empty, 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 126 

and eternity hastening; but let me record 
mercy, mercy, mercy, in the midst of much 
weakness and unprofitableness. Oiir dear 
Christian friend is gone. Another, the fair, 
lovely bridesmaid of last year, moulders in 
the dust ; while the bride is become a mother." 

Mrs. Newton was evidently associating the 
removal of her two friends who had died 
in life's spring, with the slow decline of Mrs. 
Nodes, of whose departure to a better world 
she was now in daily expectation. She lin- 
gered two more years, however, and died 
at the advanced age of eighty-one, happy 
and perfectly recollected. Mr. Newton had 
been absent, on the occasion of the opening of 
a chapel at some distance from home ; but he 
arrived in time to enter the dying chamber, 
when she motioned to him to join in prayer 
with her once more, and then after a few 
gentle sighs breathed her last She had 
embraced the Gospel late in life; but her 
mind was taught by the Spirit, and for 
some time she had been enabled to rest with 
simple faith upon the merits of her Lord and 
Saviour. She was buried in a grave near that 
of the late Mrs. Bowers, at her own request, 
in the cemetery adjoining Stanhope-street 

^' Death has entered our dwelling," says Mrs. 

Newton ; " and I no longei \iaN^ ^ Tas>K5aKt» 


126 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

I cannot now go in and out, and hold happy 
converse with her who gave me birth. Where 
is she ? With Thee, my blessed Saviour, re- 
joicing in Thy presence ; and I am yet in a 
world of probation and trial, but trusting that 
Thy hand will at last bring me through this 
scene of change and uncertainty to the haven 
of everlasting rest. How often do I forget to 
praise Thee, in whose love I have trusted I 
May we all bow to Thy will, and see more of 
the value of religion, and less of this world's 
fascination. the temptations, the alluring 
temptations, of youth! May Thy mercy, O 
God, sustain me. Be Thou my helper! 

This year we must leave 

again our Liverpool circle. I am \villing to 
go where God appoints ; but I weep because 

I must leave my , alone and unguarded 

amongst strangers ; no father to control, — no 
mother to counsel and aid, — no sisters to 
administer the joys of the domestic circle. 
Let not one of them Thou hast given me be 


« « « « 

During Mr. Newton's residence in Liverpool, 
as in other periods of his ministry, it pleased 
God to sanction and bless his efforts. An 
interesting case occurred just at this time, the 
particulars of which we afterwards heard from 
the converVs own lips. Mrs. B , the 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 127 

wife of the captain of a small vessel, had 
been deserted under very painful circumstances 
by her husband. Her mental agony, on hear- 
ing that the vessel had sailed one Sunday 
morning, and that another female had accom- 
panied him, became so mtense, that she 
went out towards evening, intending to 
drown herself in the docks as the shadows 
of night closed. Providentially she had occa- 
sion to pass Pitt-street Chapel before reaching 
the river. The gas was lighted, and the 
singing of the opening hymn attracted her 
attention. She went in ; Mr. Newton was in 
the desk, with another minister, and she 
thought he turned and looked kindly at her. 
As she heard of the love of Christ to sinners, 
she took courage, and came to Mr. Newton in 
the vestry, at the close of the service, to ask 
his counsel and prayers. From that time she 
became a happy and consistent Christian, until 
her death about the year 1848. Her little 
savings were hoarded, and forwarded to Mrs. 
Newton, or her daughters, for the Wesleyan 
Missionary Society. K the record of those 
small sums still stands in the old Missionary 
Eeports, headed " M. B.," let it not be forgotten 
that they were the contributions of this poor 
creature who was thus rescued from a miserable 
end. She died in the full triumph of faith^ 
in obscure lodgings in Lvvei^^ooV. 

128 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

Mr. Newton had passed six years in the two 
Liverpool Circuits, and was again appointed to 
labour in Manchester. The family returned in 
1832 to the home they had known twelve years 
previously. Changes had passed over that 
Manchester circle. Mrs. Newton's friend, Mrs. 
John Marsden, with several others, had died 
in the Lord ; but young faces filled their pews, 
and nothing was omitted that could make their 
residence at the preacher's house pleasant 
But, in the midst of much social and domestic 
comfort, Mr. Newton had trials in his ministry, 
from which his sympathizing wife also suffered 
in the seclusion of her own heart. It is un- 
necessary to refer to this subject in the way of 
explanation, as it has long been before the 
public. In this painful business, Mr. Newton, 
in his office as Chairman of the District, had to 
stand in the front of the conflict. And he 
stood forth boldly, and preserved the safeguards 
of Wesleyan Methodism. Few but those who 
knew and loved him best could have detected, 
under his apparently unruffled look and manner, 
the conflict within, the mental struggle, which 
was often expressed at home by the deep- 
drawn sigh, and the sad tones of dejection. 
Mrs. Newton knew it all, and felt it all; 
but throughout this period of severe trial 
she preserved a happy composure in the 
domestic circle^ seeing to it that no evil spirit 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 129 

of dissatisfaction brooded over the sacredness 
of the homely hearth, but that all was confi- 
dence and pleasant sunshine there. She drew 
her husband's attention to the happiness of 
their youth, and reminded him of those seals 
to his ministry, in the early period of his career, 
who had already entered into rest, and of his 
own quick approach to that world, where God 
alone is the judge, and the opinion of man is 
counted as nothing. 

And, assuredly, God's Providence was, even 
then, over him as a tower of strength. On 
one occasion, in the absence of his family, 
occasioned by the illness of one of his daughters, 
he went as usual to preach at a chapel situated 
among the masses of the manufacturing popu- 
lation. He went sadly; for he knew that 
mistaken and disaffected men had no wish to 
see his face in the pulpit of that chapel. To 
his surprise, his opening the Hymn-Book was a 
signal for a storm of yells and hisses. In vain 
he attempted to proceed with the service ; his 
strong voice was no match for the confused 
cries of the mob, who had at length become 
violent, and were rushing from their seats 
towards the pulpit. A friend who was present 
turned off the gas ; and an old coachman, who 
had long known Robert Newton in his Mis- 
sionary and other journeys, begged him to 
descend from the desk, and leaN^ ^^ \s>Qc\^\Si% 

130 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

in the darkness. He walked home accordingly, 
accompanied by his young friend and the coach- 
man, keeping the dark side of the road, which 
was at that time only obscurely lighted, and 
they reached the preacher's house in safety. 
" Alas, for those poor misguided men I" said 
Mr. Newton, as he narrated the circumstance 
to his family on the following morning. 
" They were not our people, I feel assured of 
that, but the mistaken operatives, who had a 
political motive for their malice. But let us 
learn from all this, how one man's sin or error 
may grow and grow, till it becomes a mountain 
of terrible magnitude." 

Mr. Newton was escorted by the police 
on the following Sunday, and driven 
to the chapel in the carriage of a friend. 
"Don't be alarmed," said a gentleman, one 
of Dr. Bunting's sons, to the driver : " these 
are two good Methodist horses ! " And though 
coarse and scurrilous language was used as 
they passed, no more open violence was at- 

In the course of the following summer, and 
during his absence from home in Scotland, 
Mr. Newton had a serious illness. Mrs. 
Newton and her daughters were returning 
from chape] at the close of the evening, when 
their friend Mr. Anderson put a letter into 
their bands^ communicating tli^ sad intelli- 

Life of Mrs. Nezvton. 131 

gence that the husband and father was suffer- 
ing from a severe attack of inflammation of 
the lungs. Though overwhelmed with grief, 
Mrs. Newton left home by the evening mail, 
to rejoin him at the house of Mrs. Drummond, 
in Edinburgh. 

"Morning dawned," she says, " as I passed 
through the beautiful mountain-scenery of 
Westmoreland ; but I had no heart to look from 
the coach-window upon those fairy-like land- 
scapes, now blushing in the opening light of 
the rising sun. I was already in spirit in the 
sick-room, fearing, yet hoping and praying, 
that God would be pleased to spare the life He 
had so often preserved, and consecrate him 
afresh to His sacred service." 

She reached Edinburgh at length, and was 
comforted as she heard the hasty words, " Mr. 
Newton is better." She eagerly repaired to 
the house where he was staying. Miss Drum- 
mond, afterwards Mrs. John Cooper, came to 
meet her ; and her affectionate welcome, and 
the kind manner in which she said, " I am so 
glad you are come I " again re-assured her. The 
inflammation had subsided ; but the physical 
prostration was so great, that there was still 
cause for alarm. Miss Drummond and her 
mother had done all that kind and assiduous 
nursing could do ; but Mr. Newton had often^ 
as the Scotch saying is, " vf eatveA!''' iw^^x's.. 

132 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Newton ; and when he saw her by his bed-side, 
his pulse gained so rapidly, that good Dr. 
Coldstream warned her to be "unco' careful." 
There was no need for caution. Mrs. Newton, 
assisted by her young friend, left nothing 
undone for the invalid that love and affection 
could suggest; and in the course of a few weeks 
the invalid was able to write to his daughters, 
— " How thankful I am that your mother came ! 
She has nursed me as no other person could 
have done." 

When he was sufficiently convalescent, Mr. 
and Mrs. Newton returned home by sea, by 
way of Liverpool, where he was met on the 
quay by his two eldest daughters, the younger 
members of the family anxiously awaiting his 
arrival at Manchester. After spending a short 
time at home, Mrs. Newton accompanied her 
husband to Sheffield, where the annual Con- 
ference of 1835 was heldL Here, as we may 
well imagine, they were received with genuine 
Yorkshire hospitality at the house of Mr. and 
Mrs. Jones. " It was," says Mr. Newton, " a 
happy Conference." The painful and dis- 
heartening disunion of the past year had bound 
the assembled ministers in closer fellowship ; 
and in their deliberative meetings, not less than 
in their pleasant social gatherings during the 
intervals allowed for refreshment, they were all 
aa ^^men of one mind in a liou^^J' Mrs* 

Lz/e of Mrs. Newton. 133 

Newton writes to her daughters, who were still 
anxious respecting their father's health, telling 
them " his cough is better," and goes on to 
describe the happy evening hours spent with 
his old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Bunting and 
several others, while James Montgomery sat 
in the easy-chair beside them, listening rather 
than speaking, except when roused by some 
subject of more than ordinary interest 

It was on the occasion of this visit to Mrs. 
Jones, that Mrs. Newton met for the last 
time her dear and valued friend Mrs. Bunting. 
She was with her husband, as usual ; and in 
her own playful way she was joking her old 
companion about suffering Mr. Newton to 
attend the annual assembly, as she had so 
often done, alone, and was speaking of the 
trials and ministerial discouragements of the 
past year, " I tell you, my dear," she said, 
'^ that my husband shall never attend a Con- 
ference again without w^." Alas, she spoke in 
the impulse of a loving heart ; but in a few 
short months from that time God had called her 
to pass the mysterious barrier that separates 
earth from heaven, to await her husband's 
arrival there. 

The Conference of 1835 appointed Mr. New- 
ton to the Leeds East Circuit Before he 
entered upon the duties of his miniattY \xl\>^s5» 
new sphere of labour, he visited ^oxsJ^o^T^a \ ^^^ 

134 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

during his absence Mrs. Newton returned to 
Manchester and Liverpool, to take leave of her 
children and little grandchildren; her eldest 
son and daughter residing at that time at 
Seaforth, opposite Liverpool. 

As we find from several passages of her diary 
of this date, her mind still reverted to the 
ministerial trials of her husband : — 

" The year is passing swiftly away ; and in 
the midst of so much mercy I have had draw- 
backs to my comfort, only known to Thee, 
my God. The sad disturbances of our church, 
begun the year that is gone, have not passed 
with the year, nor has the remembrance of 
them faded from my mind. My own prayer is, 
that every minister Grod has honoured by a call 
into this part of His vineyard may stand firm 
to the principles of Wesleyan Methodism, as it 
was first owned of Him ; that every hindrance 
to the prosperity of our Jerusalem may be 
removed; and that while abiding by the 
principles of the fathers of the church, the 
spirit of the fathers may come down upon 
them. Amen. So be it The cause is Thine, 
and will prevail. Lafidelity may triumph for 
a time. Sin may abound, and the love of many 
may wax cold; but if we are found faithful, the 
pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in our hands, 
even in ours. Thou glorious Author of all 
good, what am I ? what axe ^e? ox >Nliat are 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 135 

any human beings in Thy sight? Yet we 
plead Thy promises. Be pleased to acknow- 
ledge us in Thy pity, and ^ take not our candle- 
stick out of its place.' I expect nothing from 
my tears or my prayers ; but Thou hast bid me 
ask ; and I ask great things, pleading Thy love 
and [the Saviour's] merits." 

Prayers are then recorded for her husband's 
success and usefulness in his new Circuit, 
and for her children, those whom she was 
leaving, and those who accompanied her and 
their father to Leeds. The brief verses follow- 
ing are also of this date : — 

" Thou to whom alone I dare 
Each inward thought reveal, 
Preserve me from low, doubting care ; 
My wounded spirit heal. 

"I bless Thee for the ties that bind 
Life's sympathies below ; 
But in these dearest ties I find 
A source whence sorrows flow. 

" And I have wept, and still I weep, 
For those who, if they knew. 
Or heard my sighs, or felt my tears, 
Would sigh and weep them too ! 

" Bid me from earthly thoughts arise. 
And seek in Thee my rest : 
Kedeeming love can check my sigjia •, 
Thy grace can make me \i\es\.. 
K 2 

136 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

" Show me, beyond this ocean-scene 
Where mortals toil below, 
One glimpse of that celestial green 
Where flowers immortal grow! 

" Lord, I adore Thy power to save ; 
Thy presence still is here ; 
Yet, Thou who wept o'er Lazarus' grave, 
Forgive the falling tear !" 

On a bright September morning, the coach 
left Manchester which conveyed Mrs. Newton 
and her family to Leeds. They had left " old 
Nanny" behind them, with Mrs. Paulet, Mr. 
Newton's eldest daughter, as she had now 
become the faithful and attached nurse of Mrs. 
Newton's grandchildren at Liverpool, with 
whom she remained until her death. The 
kind and hearty welcome of the Leeds friends 
gave the preacher's family no occasion to regret 
the services of the faithful domestic. The ar- 
rangements of the house were perhaps superior 
to any which Mr. and Mrs. Newton had hitherto 
met with ; nor could any Circuit in which they 
had previously travelled rival Leeds in the 
kindness and liberality of the circle of friends 
which welcomed them to their new home. 
Mr. Newton's health was- now quite restored, 
and by an appointment of the last Conference 
his services were available for the Wesleyan 
Connexion at large between Sabbath and 
Sabbath. His popularity allowed him little 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 137 

relaxation from his arduous duties ; and Mrs. 
Newton was compelled to relinquish his society 
at a time when his counsel and assistance in 
the management of her family would have been 
a peculiar solace to herself. That she esteemed 
this deprivation no ordinary sacrifice, her diary 
and letters of this date bear witness. But 
she had resolved, in the Divine strength, when 
she married, never to stand in the way of her 
husband's duty to God and His church ; and 
she was enabled to fulfil this solemn covenant 
without once faltering. It is not for us to 
say how the more frequent presence and in- 
fluence of the father might have benefited 
the domestic circle, — how his authority might 
have guided, or his example confirmed, had he 
restricted his evangelical labours to his own 
Circuit and neighbourhood, and remained at 
home " to bless his household." But, believing, 
as we do, that he acted under the highest con- 
victions of duty, we dare venture to say that 
he did wisely and well. Opinions may differ 
upon this delicate point ; but it is a small thing 
to be judged of man's judgment. Let human 
opinion stand in abeyance when God and His 
church have called. Let us not be in haste to 
pronounce, but waive our judgment, until " that 
day " when the secrets of all hearts shall be 
unveiled, when we shall "know," not "in part," 
but perfectly. 


138 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

Many who were once living in sin have ei 
braced the faith of Christ, and lived and died 
the Lord, through the labours of Robert Newtc 
Some of those nearest related to himself, 
will be seen in the sequel of this narrati^ 
have already found repose in the love of t 
Good Shepherd, despite the errors and wandt 
ings of long years of darkness. And, thou^ 
of all the tale of life is not yet told, may ^ 
not trust, that in the day of final appeal \ 
will be able to rejoice in the eternal welfare 
all his ofispring ? 

" The past has been a year of trial," writ 
Mrs. Newton. "The greatest of misfortun 
had threatened me in the serious illness of n 
husband ; but, as my strength was weak, Q( 
gave me more grace, and I was able to mai 
tain the assurance that he would be spared 
me. In the hour of my extremity, the Lo 
seemed so near to us, I felt almost at home,- 
80 bright was my confidence, so present w 
the Divine Object to which I clung in the ho 
of my anguish. Adored for ever be that mer 
which spared me the threatened trial I I ha 
seen friends fall around me, but my belov 
husband is spared. 0, let the end of o 
coming to Leeds be answered in the spiritu 
good of many I All events are at Thy di 
posal, and into Thy hands I desire to gr 
ia/5eif and mine. Yetliow slow 1 am in learj 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 139 

ing to give myself wholly to Thy guidance 1 
May I flee firom all outward things, and come 
to Thee for rest. My cowardly heart shrinks 
from mental suffering ; but may I submit to 
Thy will. My domestic comfort is often broken 
through the absence of my husband; but I 
would keep nothing back that Thou, Lord, 
requirest at my hands. Light of the world, 
shine on my heart, and may I rejoice in Thy 

Even while she wrote crowds were flocking 
up the hill to hear Mr. Newton preach at the 
large white chapel near the house. "What 
can it be?" asked one of her daughters, 
on the morning of their first Sabbath. The 
question was answered when the family joined 
the congregation. The service had just com- 
menced, and in the opening hymn the hearty 
voices of the vast crowd seemed to swell above 
the volume of sound poured forth by the 
powerful organ. It was the first of a succession 
of happy Sabbaths in the minister's family. 
How often, during the six years that followed, 
did they join in the earnest devotion of the 
Leeds Methodists ! The first Missionary Meet- 
ing after their arrival was an event that could 
not be easily forgotten. Again the large 
chapel was filled to overflowing; and some 
that had not been in time to obtain tlieir 
accustomed seat, before the cto\?^^ o^ ^<i<^^<^ 

140 Life of Mrs, Newton, 

had pressed in, were fain to thread their way 
to a remote corner, at the back of the orchestra. 
From this eminence, the sight of the concourse 
collected below was magnificent. The flood of 
gas-light fell upon the vast assembly of bright 
faces, all eager to hear of the success of Chris- 
tian enterprise among the heathen. James 
Montgomery, if we recollect rightly, was in the 
chair ; and on the platform there were the Rev. 
William Barton, and " Billy Dawson," together 
with the Revs. Winter Hamilton and John Ely, 
and several others. And there was " Mr. 
Newton and the collection." 

Mr. Dawson soon found his way to the 
preacher's house. He was a plain Yorkshire far- 
mer, and resided in a retired homestead in the 
village of Barwick-in-Elmett. He called on Mrs. 
Newton to ask her how she liked " black Leeds." 
" I told them," he added, " they mun' get a 
cage first, and then look out for t' bird;" 
alluding to her pleasant commodious dwelling. 
Mrs. Newton naturally inquired after her old 
friends, especially Mr. Hemington, of Thorp- 
Arch, and two or three others whom she had 
known at the outset of her religious life. Mr. 
Dawson well remembered their names, he in- 
formed her, but they had been long in their 
graves ; and then he talked, in his plain way, of 
the introduction of Methodism into the villages 
iSnjTounding Leeds. He was a true child of 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 141 

nature. We doubt if he possessed any books 
but two or three volumes of sermons in the 
quaint kitchen at Barwick; yet few who 
have heard him preach will not acknowledge 
that he was a man of no ordinary mental 
power, a free, unfettered child of genius. He 
wielded the weapons of Divine truth, at times, 
so fearlessly and playfully, that one could only 
turn away, as we would avert our eyes from a 
thoughtless child toying and trifling with sharp 
tools. Yet did he not want the true reverence 
of the heart, nor the depth of feeling which 
could give touches of true pathos to his sermons, 
when he called sinners to repentance. Mrs. 
Newton and her daughters heard him preach 
on the following Sunday at Brunswick Chapel, 
from a text which perhaps many of his old 
hearers may not have forgotten : " Fear not, 
only believe." The sermon was remarkable for 
its evangelical simplicity; and, assuredly, no 
bereaved parent who might happen to be pre- 
sent could listen unmoved to his concluding 
appeal, which was probably a flash of bright 
thought there and then suggested by the sight 
of a mother's black bonnet before him in the 
gallery. " But thou sayest, * My daughter is 
dead; trouble not the Master. Ay, ay, 
you're too late, now : it's but a fortnight since 
it was tottering beside me in the kitchen, 
prattling and talking to me awA. \>b ^^X\sKt \ 

142 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

but it sleeps by itself in the dark, cold church- 
yard now, down t' lane ; and when I try to fold 
up it' little Sunday frock, and see it' little cap 
and little bonnet hanging on the peg, my heart 
fair breaks.** Nay, but I say unto thee^'* and 
here the preacher's voice rung through the large 
chapel, " Fear not, only believe." * 

Miss Rebecca Newton was at this time with 
her sister Caroline, at the village of Colton, 
not far from Barwick, while her youngest 
sister and brother remained at home ; and in 
their country rambles they often heard of the 
good evangelist " Billy Dawson," and of his 
labours amongst the poor in his neighbourhood. 
Methodism had a strong hold upon the affec- 
tions of the people in that part of Yorkshire ; 
and there were few of the villagers, of what- 
ever religious denomination they might be, 
who in times of sickness, or on the approach 
of death, did not send for *^ praying men," or 
"praying women," from the "Methodises." The 
village Missionary Meeting, too, was not seldom 
as ftill of interest to the labouring classes, 
around Leeds, as the annual village wake; 
and on these occasions, during his six years' 
residence in that neighbourhood, Mr. Newton 
was often seen, his head a little above those 
of others, who were crowded in a double gig 
which had received the name of the " Gospel 
chariot " Some worthy friend yras always ready 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 1-13 

to receive the " preachers from Leeds " at his 
hospitable board ; and while " George," the 
Circuit-horse, was led steaming to the stable, 
the lady of the house was making tea and 
passing cheesecakes to her guests, and the 
good man consulting with his peers, " as how 
we mun' have a ^phizzing' collection." The 
meeting and the speeches followed; some of 
them racy and queer enough. " Billy Daw- 
son" was sometimes a little too much like the 
poet in " Peter Bell," whose imagination 
carried him off in his boat beyond his hearers ; 
or he was jocose, and drew forth roars of 
laughter ; but Mr. Newton's powers of oratory, 
which he could adapt to the learned or to the 
unlearned, acted as a check upon anything 
that might not harmonize with the Christian 
character of the meeting. 

Mrs. Newton's domestic happiness was 
clouded in the following year by the alarm- 
ing illness of her daughter B.ebecca, who was 
still at Colton for the benefit of her health. 
" We are as well as usual," she had written 
to her mother and sister a few days previously, 
" and spend our time very pleasantly, reading, 
sewing, walking, or visiting ; and now I want 

you to help me. S 's husband has deserted 

her; I have obtained the address of her daughter, 
and I want you to call and explain," &c. In 
a long walk occasioned by tlaia ^^vc&xi^ ^'^^'^^ 

144 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

she had exhausted her strength, and an attack 
of severe inflammation of the lungs speedily 
followed. For a time there seemed no hope 
of her recovery ; but she had not religion to seek 
in the sick-room. She could smUe in the 
prospect of death, and trust in the merits of 
her Saviour. "How thankful I am," Mr. 
Newton writes to Mrs. Newton, who was at 
Liverpool on a visit to her married daughter, 
" that my girl is pious I" In a letter to Rebecca 
he says : " Fear not ; you are building on the 
sure foundation : and try to venture more fully 
on Christ, while you calmly, and prayerfully, 
and believingly wait for a clearer evidence of 
your acceptance in the Beloved." Mr. Newton's 
arduous duties prevented him from spending 
as much time with her as he could have wished; 
and, in his absence, her friend, the clergyman 
of the parish in which she was staying, as also 
his wife, were assiduous in their kindness and 
attention. After her recovery, the excellent 
friends at Leeds obtained a pleasant house in 
the country, which they engaged during the 
remaining four years of Mr. Newton's residence 
amongst them, that she might have the ad- 
vantages of country air, while enjoying at the 
same time the benefit of a mother's attention. 
Burley-Grange was just two miles from the 
town, and situated on the rising ground above 
Bramley and Kirkstall, and n^yIVAxi ^.yl ^aay 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 146 

walk of the picturesque abbey. It was a' 
straggling old place, and one room was fitted up 
with desk and forms for the purposes of Divine 
service. In this the Misses Newton taught a 
class of village children, a kind of Sunday- 
school ; while every alternate week the people of 
the village flocked in to " hear preaching." " I 
have preaching now in my own hired house," 
said Mr. Newton, laughingly, as he pointed 
out this domestic oratory to one of his brethren ; 
and not a few good sermons have been heard 
in that unique lecture-room. " We were very 
happy at Burley. If the spirit haunts the 
place we have loved best," says Mrs. Newton, 
'^ my ghost will wander about those dark trees 
surrounding the house where I have so often 
stood to listen for the rumbling of the 
wheels of the old stage on the road below, and 
watch for my husband's arrival. I never wished 
to go from home ; but once I had occasion to 
visit my family at Liverpool, and well re- 
member moving stealthily up to the window 
to take my girls by surprise. There they were, 
with their brother, and our dear friend Miss 

H . The blinds were up, and the bright 

fire-light shone iqwn their happy faces. How 
thankful I felt for my home !" 

Again she records her gratitude to the 
Almighty Father and " God of the families of 
the earth" in her diary : " StvW 1 ^m ^^^"^^^^ 

146 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

to tell of Thy goodness, Lord. ^ How do Thy 
mercies close me round ! ' I bless Thee for the 
light in my heart; for the usefulness of my 
beloved husband ; and for the children Thou 
hast given me. What shall I render unto the 
Lord? that in the day when we appear 
before our Maker, each one that has sat round 
our table under the paternal roof may have a 
place at the festal board of heaven! I am 
ashamed of my unworthiness ; I have to record 
coldness of love, neglected opportunities, 
worldly and trifling conversation. Be not 
Thou extreme to mark what is amiss ! I am 
hastening on towards the close of my pilgrimage. 
Let Thy grace descend upon me more abun- 
dantly in my declining days. As eternity 
draws nearer, may I live in closer union with 
my blessed Redeemer. Help me to turn my 
eye from myself to Thee. Be Thou to me 
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, 
and redemption." 

About this time Miss Caroline Newton had 
a serious attack of illness, while on a visit to 
her friends at Stockton-upon-Tees, and her 
sister Mary Ann was called upon to hasten to 
her bed-side. The danger was over before she 
arrived. Mr. and Mrs. Walker had done all 
that kindness could suggest; but the days 
seemed long before she was able again to write 
to ber mother, and assure. \vei t\\at sl\^ Uo^ed 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 147 

to return home shortly. " I think my attack 
was like dear papa's seizure when he was at 
Edinburgh," she writes ; ^^ and, like him, I had 
the happy sense of the Divine favour and 
blessing that raised me far above the fear of 
death. No doubt, no fear, but confidence in a 
God who is all love." She returned home in 
the course of a few weeks ; and was in the 
autumn of the same year united in marriage 
to Mr. Robert Gill, of Easingwold, "My 
Caroline has left us," says Mrs. Newton, "for 
another home; and I try to rejoice in her happi- 
ness ; but it has been with sad tears, when I 
thought of the separation." 

An event which caused her much more uneasi- 
ness at this time was Mr. Newton's anticipated 
visit to America. It had been long talked of; 
and the Conference having selected him as its 
Representative, she had given her consent. But 
as the spring of 1840 drew near, she shrunk 
from the trial. " The vows of the Lord are 
upon me," she had said, when appealed to for 
her decision, — Mr. Newton having kindly de- 
clined to yield to the wishes of his brethren 
without her acquiescence, — " and I think I have 
never interfered with anything that appeared 
to be your duty to the church." But a tone 
of sadness mingles with expressions of thank- 
fulness, as we peruse her diary of this da.ta* 
" The dreaded hour of o\ir ^e^^^NAssti ^^^ 

148 Life of Mrs. Newton^ 

proaches/' she says. " With my eye of i 
fixed upon the cross of Christ, I can bus 
what may await me, — the absence of my < 
husband, even in a foreign land. In 
loneliest hours, if I can simply look to T 
light shines in my heart : — 

When sleepless on my bed I lie, 

When heaves my breast the anxious sighy 

Or silently I dry the tear, 

Thy blessed name the gloom can cheer ! 

And hope in Thee imparts a ray 

Of light more dear than dawn of day.** 

Mrs. Newton accompanied her husbani 
Liverpool, and saw him embark on board 
vessel on the morning of April 1st. His ] 
friend Mr. Souter, of Castle-Donington, 
with him, having consented to accompany 
in his wanderings. This was a source of g 
satisfaction. After taking leave of him, 
carriage in which she was seated, along ^ 
her two eldest daughters, moved slowly oi 
the house of her son-in-law, Mr. Paulet, 
the beach, from which she was able to keep 
vessel in sight until it was lost in the hori 
She then retired to her room, remembe: 
that the friends at Leeds had arranged to I 
a meeting at twelve o'clock, for special prj 
for her husband's safety and usefulness ; 
Mr. Newton in the solitude of his cabin un 
hxB supplications with ttielT^. 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 149 

" I felt much at parting with my beloved chil- 
dren," says Mr. Newton, in his journal ; " but 
when it came to the last, and I had to sever 

myself from my dearest wife and dear B , 

it was almost more than I could sustain. Dr, 
Bunting arrived just in time to see me off, 
and many old friends were on the pier. I got 
behind the ship's poop, where I remained till 
I got the last look of my dearest Eliza, and 
saw the last wave of her handkerchief. I then 
retired to my berth, and joined our friends in 
prayer, and felt power to resign my all into 
the hands of Providence. On Thursday, the 
second morning, the Welsh coast was still in 
sight. On Saturday we passed Cape-Clear, 
the last point of Irish land. And now, thou 
great Atlantic, we are fairly on thy bosom; 
and this fine ship is tossed like a feather on 
thy mighty waves. On Sunday I preached 
from John i. 45, to an attentive audience. 
Towards noon the weather became boisterous, 
the deck was ever and anon covered with the 
waters, and the ship rolled greatly. But Thou, 

Lord, art our defender. On Monday I saw 
a vessel homeroard-bound. Ah, I doubt not 
but we shall be spared to meet again in health 
and comfort. — To-day, 13th, two small birds 
alighted on the ship : the plumage and the shape 
of these little creatures are difi^teiiX. ixorcck ^jskj 

1 have known^ and remind me Vkafc \ ^xsv t^^^^^ 


150 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

far from the land of my birth, and from those 
to me most dear. But, 

' Though mountains rise and oceans roll. 
They cannot sever soul from souL' 

Yesterday evening we had prayers in the ladies* 
cabin, and sang, 

' Thou who camest from aboye.' 

[The hymn sung by his daughters at faniily- 
prayers.] How was I reminded of sweet home I 
It is fourteen long days since I came on board, 
and since I saw my beloved wife. Well, all 
this is at the Lord's command. May He grant 
His special blessing. How I long to be at my 
public work again I" 

Mr. Newton's visit to the United States was 
as successful, under the Divine blessing, as the 
best wishes of his friends could have antici- 

Upon Mrs. Newton's return to Leeds, her 
friends did all in their power to make his long 
absence bearable. His first letter arrived at 
length; and then, after a short interval, a packet 
of papers. From these we cannot refrain from 
quoting two or three extracts, making our selec- 
tion from the " Commercial Advertiser," the 
" State Gazette," the " Weekly Messenger,'* 
and " Bennett's New- York Herald : " — 

" We have seldom seen a ^Itot^^^t aTvx\feV^ 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 151 

evinced by the religious world of this city than 
on Tuesday evening last, when the Eev. Robert 
Newton, of Leeds, England, preached at the 
Methodist church in Fifth-street The build- 
ing was filled nearly an hour before the time, 
and thousands were unable to gain admission. 
We deeply regret that it is not possible to 
do justice to this eloquent and inspiring 
sermon within the limits of a newspaper." — 
" Mr. Newton preached at John-street on 
Sunday evening. The interest felt in listening 
to the discourses of this gentleman seems un- 
paralleled. Thousands, at the evening service, 
who could not even get to the doors of the 
overflowing house, blocked up the street 
and its vicinity." — " Never have we lis- 
tened to a preacher more truly unaffected, self- 
forgetful, and apostolical." — "The expectations 
of the crowds that filled Chestnut Church this 
afternoon have been realised. A great man 
spoke upon a great theme." — "His address was 
logical and argumentative, yet popular. The 
weakest mind could understand, while the most 
refined and critical would be gratified. His 
fervour and sincerity, the agreeable diversity 
of his topics, (for he abstains from a long-drawn 
thread,) and the clearness of his ideas, excite 
interest and command respect. His form con- 
sists with the character of his sermona^ b^\xi% 
large and masculine. HVa couxAeaaJCkKfe Sa» ^*^ 

152 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

the iron stamp. His features are rugged, but 
his appearance venerable." 

On the 1st of July Mrs. Newton again met 
her husband at Liverpool, on his arrival in 
England, and, after spending a few days with 
the family at Seaforth, returned with him to 
Leeds. Of course there was a pretty large 
gathering at Burley-Grange on this happy 
occasion. Mr. and Mrs. Gill, and the other 
members of the family then residing in York- 
shire, were assembled under the paternal roof. 
The house was roomy, and the domestic oratory 
was converted into a sleeping-apartment. 
Even " Sister Ann " (now Mrs. Ireland) had 
come up from the north to meet her brother ; 
and the united family once more joined in 
singing the familiar hymn, — 

" Thou who earnest from above !" 
It was on this interesting occasion that " Sister 
Ann" presented one of her nieces with an 
acrostic that she had written on her brother 
llobert's name, long years ago, upon his 
entering the ministry : — 

" Bestrain thy grief, forbear, my throbbing heart ; 
Obedient learn — Heaven *s destined us to part ; 
Betake thyself to God in fervent prayer. 
Entreat and wrestle for thy brother there : 
Remember, when this fleeting life is o'er, 
Th&t Idndred souls shall meet to -^^.Tt nomoni. 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 153 


" Now, Lord, descend with light and life divine, 
Enrich my brother^s heart ; may he be Thine ! 
With patient faith may he the standard bear. 
To fallen man redeeming love declare : 
0, may he drink of Zion's sacred stream. 
Nor cease to celebrate his Saviour's name !" 

It was her last visit to her brother's 
house. In a few more short years she fell 
asleep, enduring a somewhat long affliction 
with true Christian patience, and rejoicing in 
the "sure and certain hope" of a resurrection 
to eternal life. 

Before leaving Leeds, Mrs. Newton's family 
paid a brief visit to the Moravian settlement 
at Fulneck, and saw the scenes in which she 
had been early interested. After wandering 
over the secluded burying-ground, in which no 
stone or slab marks the resting-place of the 
" departed," save the small headstone over 
the grave of the Bishop; and reading that beau- 
tiful passage in one of the Moravian prayer- 
books, " And keep us in everlasting fellowship 
with our brethren and sisters who have entered 
into the joy of their Lord, and whose bodies 
are buried in the earth, whom Thou hast called 
home," &c. ; they heard the following particu- 
lars of the life of Mrs. P , who, it will be 

remembered, was instrumental in leading Mrs. 
Newton to embrace the faith of the Gospel. 
This lady had been broug\it to ^^ Y\3kss^\^^^ 

154 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

of Christ under the preaching of Mr. Wesley* 
She had few religious associates, however; and 
after her conversion listened to the addresses 
of Mr. P , who pleaded that his indiffer- 
ence on the subject of religion would leave her 
unbiassed by himself, and perfectly at liberty 
to follow out her own convictions of duty. 
When the wedding was over, and the usual 
visits had been paid, she wished to attend the 
meetings of the Methodists; but no! his 
commands forbade it. She submitted to his 
decision, and attended a church where there 
was no Gospel to cheer her. But her joy was 
gone ; and although she never lost her trust in 
her Saviour, it was not until she was left a 
widow, and Mr. Wesley, her early teacher, was 
dead, that she was able to associate again with 
those who were " her own company." 

Mr. Newton was not permitted to spend much 
of his time with his family atBurley after his re- 
turn from the United States. The little pocket- 
book in which he was accustomed to make a 
note of the places of his intended visits is filled 
up, at this period, from Monday to Saturday, 
the year through. On Sunday he was punctual 
at his appointment in Leeds, and on Saturday 
evening his family always awaited his arrival 
at home. It was a sort, of festive eve, looked 
for alike by the mistress, children, and servants : 
even the favourite doglay mtliliia noaeto tho 

Life of Mrs. Newton, 155 

door, and announced his master's arrival with 
a quick bark of delight Tea followed, and 
pleasant talk ; and what a heavy packet of 
letters had then to be opened, and given to 
one of the family to answer, containing invita- 
tions to missionary meetings, chapel anniver- 
saries, and other public services I 

The celebration of the Centenary of Wesleyan 
Methodism took place during Mrs. Newton's 
residence with her husband at Burley. No 
one who was present can have forgotten the 
interesting opening-service on the] great holi- 
day, when, after the hymn was sung, — 

"All thanks be to God," &c.,— 

Mr. Newton, on attempting to speak, and re- 
minding the vast crowd that as their fathers and 
brethren who had remembered 1739 had now 
passed away, so, long before another centenary, 
he and all present would have followed, was 
fairly mastered by his feelings, and compelled 
to pause. An interval of solemn silence suc- 
ceeded, in which the whole assembly seemed 
as if penetrated by the feelings of the speaker, 
and to stand in imagination in the death- 
chamber of " their prophets," praying that tho 
spirit of their departed Elijahs might ever 
rest on their Elishas. Mr. Newton shortly 
recovered himself, and carried his hearers along 
with him again, incitmg t\icrcv \*o ft^a^^^ ^'^ 


156 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Christian benevolence that should live when 
they were gone. Social meetings followed this 
well-remembered day; and Mrs. Newton entered 
cheerfully into the arrangements which the 
ladies of the congregation were making for their 
pleasant " tea-drinkings," — hospitable gather- 
ings, which are not yet forgotten in Leeds. 

AVe are unwilling to quit this interesting 
sphere of Mr. Newton's labours, and of Mrs. 
Newton's domestic happiness ; for it is pleasing 
even in fancy to linger in the home made 
sacred to the memory by its hallowed associa- 
tions. But the Conference of 1841 drew on. 
Mr. Newton took leave of his family in June, 
to attend the meetings of the Irish Conference ; 
and shortly afterwards repaired to Manchester, 
where the British Conference was this year 
held. "We can scarcely pass over the following 
letter, written on his arrival at Cork, it is so 
thoroughly characteristic : — 

^^ My deabest Eliza, and all that are dear 
to us both at Burley-Grange, — Here am I, by 
the good Providence of God, in health and safety, 
in the city of Cork, after a safe but rather rough 
passage. We landed about ten this morn- 
ing, and I joined two gentlemen at a car, six 
miles, to bring me on to the city. An Irish- 
man exclaimed last night, when nearly all were 
dreadfallj sick, * Sure, t\\e mo^lVoxr^A^ ^^auva 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 167 

on the face of this earth is the cabin of a 
8tamer in a rough sea I ' I had the advantage 
of having so recently crossed the Atlantic. 
The brethren here are assembled in the Station- 
ing Committee. You will join me in praying 
that the Great Head of the church may deign 
to make use of me here, and in Dublin, for 
His glory and the good of many. How many 
eyes are looking towards a feeble instrument 
more unworthy than language can describe 1 
The good Lord be my helper I ... I hope 
to take a peep at Seaforth as I return, and to 
reach home at the latest on Wednesday. Every- 
body here is talking of the elections. that 
all were equally earnest to make their heavenly 
^calling and election sure!' Then, all would 
be safe. Give my love to the brethren, Messrs. 
JBarrett and Cusworth, and friends, and the dear 
children. God be with you all. 
" Your own 

" Robert Newton." 

On the 1st of September, 1841, Mr. Newton 
and his family left Leeds for Manchester. 
" I gratefully record the mercies of the past," 
says Mrs. Newton, as we again refer to her 
diary. " God was with me, when I was 
separated from my husband during his absence 
in America. I felt His hand supported me. 
Now, I shrink from leaviag ovxi Toasii VxsA. 


158 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

friends in Leeds, and quitting the place where 
I have enjoyed all that is implied in the sweet 
word home ; but I would desire to rejoice in any 
sacrifice that attaches to the cross of Christ." 

Their residence in Manchester was at Cheet- 
ham-hill ; and the first year in the preacher's 
house, in that healthy suburb of the busy city, 
was not less happy than the preceding ones in 
Yorkshire. But it pleased Heaven that a heavy 
trial should be permitted to fall upon Mrs. New- 
ton and the domestic circle during the course of 
the following summer, in the loss of her gifted 
and beloved daughter Mary Ann. This interest- 
ing young lady was now in her twenty-seventh 
year, and apparently in the bloom of health. 
For some time she had lived in the enjoyment 
of true religion, having been awakened 
to the knowledge of Divine truth under the 
ministry of a clergyman of the Church of 
England. Her catholic spirit, and refined and 
well-disciplined mind, had, however, led her to 
connectherself closely with the church to which 
her father and mother were attached, and she 
delighted to identify herself with the religious 
institutions of Methodism. During this sum- 
mer she had passed several weeks with her 
sister, Mrs. Gill, in Yorkshire, and afterwards 
with another sister, who had been lately united 
in marriage to Mr. Peter R. Jackson. Upon 
er return homo, slio xoxdettoot «b ^^TSiowhat 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 159 

long walk on a visit of charity, intending to 
see the sick person again in the course of a few 
days. But the Master had " come, and called 
for her." Typhus fever, with its painful at- 
tendants of mental depression and delirium, 
set in. She dreamed aloud of the heaven of 
her imagination, and of rest after her long 
journey. Once or twice, when the fever had 
abated, she told her sister that she was " ready," 
and " should soon be among the liappy com- 
pany in the New Jerusalem ; " but again all 
consciousness left her. In a few brief hours* 
death had set his seal upon the face once so 
fair, and her happy spirit was with the angels 
in heaven. It was a cloudy morning, that 27th 
day of July, 1842; but for a moment a beau- 
tiful gleam of sunshine fell upon the sorrowing 
family, as they watched over the bed of death. 
Alas for our weak faith! that we catch so 
eagerly at any sensible and tangible manifesta- 
tion of God's presence in the temple of His 
creation, and are thankful, in our heart's dark- 
ness, for such flickering rays of comfort, instead 
of trusting simply that He is Light^ — that He 
is Laoe. Mrs. Newton was carried from her 
daughter's chamber in a state of insensibility. 
She had to bear up under the stroke alone, Mr. 
Newton being absent at the annual Conference. 
So sudden was this painful dispensation, that 
he had not been made awat^ oi \iA& ^^^^^s^ 

160 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

serious illness until his friend Dr. Bunting 
was requested to communicate to him the event 
of her death. Before his return home Mrs. 
Newton had recovered her fortitude ; but it was 
long before she regained her usual spirits. 
The dear departed one was missed in the lonely 
house for many summers ; there was no longer 
her merry laugh, or her light step, in the dis- 
charge of household duties, or the pleasant 
psalm-singing at the hour of evening prayer. 
The "voice of the daughters of music was 
brought low," and the shadow of mourning 
was on the preacher's habitation. 

"All is over," Mrs. Newton writes to her 
daughter, Mrs. Gill; "and the last of dear 
Mary Ann has been hid from my sight But 
our mercies have been great ; and I desire to 
say, ^ Blessed be the name of the Lord.' I was 
enabled to give her back to Him, and feel a 
ftdl confidence that the gift is accepted. I 

feel more for E and F 

Papa got all our letters on Tuesday, and did 
not notice the dates : one said she was better. 
I wrote to Dr. Bunting when all was over ; 
and he called papa out of Conference, with Mr. 
Jackson and Mr. Marsden, to break it to him. 
Papa left directly, and Dr. Bunting went in 
and told the Conference; and all broke off 
business, and, kneeling down, prayed for him 
and for us. Who knows \iO^ "aiuda.>N^ ojve to 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 161 

those prayers ! Mr. McLean afterwards followed 
him, and got on the omnibus, and told him 
how they had prayed for him. He said, ^ Do 
not be distressed if the nature of her illness 
lias prevented her from giving you her dying 
testimony; for we know she was prepared.' " 

Many friends came in to comfort Mrs. Newton 
and her bereaved family ; but we are unwilling 
to forget the words of sympathy of a pious old 
Lancashire Methodist, who ventured early to 
obtrude upon the depth of a mother's sorrow. 
" You m'ont fret," she said, in her simplicity ; 
'^for hoo served the Lord, and hoo is gone 
straight to glory. Du'not grudge Him His 
own. He has a right to walk round his garden, 
and pluck the fairest flower, if He wants it." 

Others amongst her religious associates, who 
could appreciate her loss, condoled with her ; 
and their kindness and comforting words were 
not without effect. With two or three of her 
famUy she sought solace, and salutary change 
of air and scene, by the beautiful waters of 
Grasmere and Windermere, in Westmoreland. 
Perhaps no place was better fitted to soothe 
the wounded spirit In the stUlness of the 
autumnal evening, where the green plots of 
pasture dipped into the deep quiet lake, or amid 
the wild solitudes of the mountain-side, the voice 
of the Lord was inwardly heard, giving fitren^tk 
and coxnioii to His cTaildreu. Tdl^^ 1cJ^<3^' 
Y 3 

162 Life of Mrs. Newton. 


littlo poem on Death appears to have been 
written at this time : — 

" Trembling, IVc mark'd thy icy tonch and breath, 
Thou king of terrors, sin-engendei^d Death f 
Though few and evil my brief days have been, 
Tliy dreaded form too often have I seen. 

*' IVo watch'd the dawn of Spring draw forth the sage 
To catch the breeze, and dream o'er nature's page ; 
The earth was green, the early flow'rets sweet ; — 
Ho knew not Death was hid beneath his feet. 

" Tvo seen the infant, just awake to light, 
Bloss its fond mother with a look so bright, 
She thought long life was given to her care : 
Sho look*d again, — but only Death was there. 

" Tve seen the beauteous bride with orange crown'd. 
And fairest roses with her tresses bound, — 
Wlulo the fond bridegroom, gazing on her face. 
Felt not the dart of Death in his embrace ! 

*' The lightsome steps of dancers have I seen. 
In halls of state, or on the rural green ; 
Each thought Death distant from a scene so fair, — 
But, ah, his pale and shadowy form was there ! 

" IVo seen the youth his nightly vigils keep, 
And give to learning the just dues of sleep, — 
Just when he saw the end of all this care, 
Close his last book, and only Death was there. 

'' I've seen the consecrated temple rise 
Whence hallow'd anthems echoed to the skies ; 
But 'mid the grandeur of adoring prayer 
And Life^oring throng, \o \ "DeaV^i ^«jb» Vkct^. 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 163 

" And now, he 's thrown his sin-envenom'd dart 
0*er the dear circle nearest to my heart : 
Fondly I held them with a mother^s care ; 
He grasp'd the strongest, ere I felt him there ! 

" Whither, 0, whither shall my weakness flee ? 
For soon, I know, that dart shall find out me. 
0, let me shelter. Saviour, in Thy side, 
And in Thy bleeding love my terrors hide !" 

The venerable poet Wordsworth resided at 
that time at his beautiful retreat at Bydal- 
Mount, and was often seen ascending the 
mountain-steep neax his house, ever and anon 
pausing to rest, and gaze on the surrounding 
landscape. He was then an aged man; and 
no doubt Mrs. Newton's mind looked on to 
that period, which now could not be fer distant, 
when the grave should close over him in Gras- 
mere churchyard. How pleasing was it to 
her, to hear afterwards from a lady, belonging 
to the Society of Friends, that she had "the 
comfortable assurance, from her conversation 
with him, that this great man was one of the 
company of mystic believers in the Lord Jesus 
Christ 1" 

"A break has been made in my beloved 
circle," Mrs. Newton writes, six months after 
the loss of her daughter; "and a louder cry 
than ever calls me to arise and depart, for ^ this 
is not my rest' Gratefully I adore the good- 
ness that supported me v^V^m ^^^ ^"^lifeL 

lot Life of Mrs. Newton. 

oaino, ami brought death and sorrow into my 
lioiiio. Still, I look back upon that day : 

That niorninjj: rose — in sunshiro rose 

To others— ?i<)^ to me. 
1 watcliM and saw those eyelids close 

For ovoniiore on me. 

Yi^t not for crcr / We hope to meet again in 
tho moriiinir of the Resurrection, when them 
wlio slooj) in Jesus God will bring with Him. 
May 1 be thankful that my dear husband is 
still spared to me; and, tliough we are often 
sopa rated here, we have the prospect of spending 
eternity to«rother.* Tlie last year has been one 
of much interest in Tliy chiuxjh. Amid conflict- 
iniif opinions and conflicting parties, let not infi- 
delity triumph. At eventide, when the shadows 
seem to thicken iij)on us, *let it be light' " 

That was indeeil an eventful year in the 
records of the town of Mimchester. In the 
autumn of 1842, owing to a combination of 
ciri'umstances, which this is not the place to 
recount in detail, sixty thousand operatives had 
])araded the streets, armed with staves and 
pikes, demanding money or fooci The mis- 
guided men were happily restrained from doing 
much mischief. Perhaps many of these poor 
fellows had not forgotten their boyish lessons 
in the Sunday-school, — and not a few of them, 

* These were the words of Colonel Gardiner, on taking 
his last leave of his wife. 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 165 

we are assured, had heard of the duty of sub- 
mission and obedience to the constituted 
authorities, — for what district in the city of 
Manchester is without its guardian angel in 
the shape of churcM or chapel ? At the period 
of which we now write the opinions of Eobert 
Owen had been diffused, unhappUy, among the 
working classes. The " HaU of Science," as it 
was called, was thrown open on the Sabbath 
evening; and sad it was to see these ignorant 
and mistaken men pouring in to hear the 
Socialist lecture, instead of turning their steps 
to the house of God. Mrs. Newton and her 
daughters, after their return home, were often 
brought into contact with this spirit, in their 
visits among the working people. Upon one 
occasion an attempt was made to interrupt 
a Missionary Meeting by a female Socialist 
lecturer; but it was, most adroitly, quelled by 
Mr. Newton. By his persuasive address and 
easy tact he carried the vast congregation with 
him, as he descanted on St. Paul's definition 
of feminine duty and character. 

In the autumn of this year Mr. Newton, or, 
as we must now say. Dr. Newton, visited his 
friends in Yorkshire; and a single passage from 
his letter to his wife after preaching again in 
their former Circuit may not be uninteresting. 
" Oxford-Place and old Brunswick were crowded 
yesterday to overflowing. Thsi^ \% ixa 

166 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

like Leeds, after all, for Wesleyan Methodism. 
When I looked down at the old peWy and 
thought of those who used to occupy it, I 
had enough to do to suppress my feelings. 
Well; there is a house above, and nobler 
worship there. I passed through Holmfirth 
last Thursday, ^ up tlie back loyne.^ The house 
and Bing's-Wood are there yet. What happy 
days have we spent there I and how many 
mercies have we received since I We were then 
young, and the prospect of life was before ns : 
now we are far down the vale of years. But, 
thanks be unto God, our cup of blessing has 
never been empty. May we make the most 
and the best of the time that may yet remain. 

Tell dear J I shall be glad to see ^ 8weet 

homej and hear the harp, once more. Love to 
Peter and ^ Bibby' when you see them.'' 

Mr. and Mrs. Newton had removed from Cheet- 
ham-hill to Broughton, another suburb of Man- 
chester, in the Salford Circuit, in the autumn of 
1844. They were welcomed there by their kind 
friends Mr. and Mrs. Townend, and nothing 
occurred during their residence in the house 
adjoining the chapel to ruffle the surface of 
domestic life. Mrs. Newton was near her 
married daughters, and several merry little 
grandchildren were now rising up to claim 
her interest and affection. Her two unmarried 
daughtera were still \mdci "k^et xoof^ ^sid ker 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 167 

youngest son was with her during his vacations ; 
while the pleasant neighbourly society around 
added much to the comfort of her new home. 

But as time advanced, and years rolled on, her 
circle of friends continued to narrow : one and 
another of her early associates were removed to 
a better world; the bonds of earthly companion- 
ship were broken ; while, may we not say, the 
bonds of hallowed fellowship with friends in 
heaven grew and strengthened ? Life's summer 
was gone, and she and her husband were fast 
approaching the frosts and winter of old age. 
" It seems," says Dr. Newton, in a brief letter 
addressed to her about this period from the 
Irish Conference, " it seems as if you and I 
had outlived our generation. Brother Tobias 
is gone home. All those who were leading 
men in the Irish Connexion when I first came 
into this country are in eternity. And soon / 
must follow. Let me request you to get into 
the open air as much as possible, and take care 
of yourself. It looks a long time to the middle 
of August. But I must be denied the society 
I love best till then, I fear. 0, what a happy 
release when I get into a train for Manchester!" 
Perhaps Dr. Newton's mind was saddened, 
just at this time, by some of those painful 
ministerial trials with which he was compelled 
to meet in the course of his declining yeajj^^^ 
Those who are acquainted \^v\\i V\i^ \>L\sXfii^^^H 

108 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Worilcyiiri Mothodiflm, and know to what we 
refur, may tliink it strange that a man of his 
Hi rcn^^tli of character, and true moral greatness, 
(MMilil Inivo ielt a sting which only derived its 
poirion from malicious falsehood. At an earlier 
period of luH career, we doubt not, he would 
liavo nu^l. ilio attacks of anonymous slander 
with ilin supreme indifference that they deserved, 
itiit. lie was now no longer young. He had 
roatOu'd aii age which ought to have sheltered 
him from (he assaults of envious calnnmy. 
ItositU's, (hose anonymous attacks upon his 
c'.harat^tor, and upon the characters of others 
who wore associated with him in the sacred 
oilhu), wore sni)po8ed to come from men whom 
ho had h)ved and trusted. And Bobert New- 
\m\\ sonsihiliiy was that of a man of love. 
His h(»jirt couhl not choose but be deeply sensi- 
tive, even of an unkind look. Those who knew 
him, not only in tlie social circle, where, in the 
freedom of familiar intercourse, his buoyant 
spirit threw a charm on all around him, but 
in the church, in his character as a minister of 
religion, — will remember that he was a man of 
tender sympathies. He desired not worldly 
applause, but to live in the atmosphere of 
mutual confidence and affection. 

Following Mrs. Newton and her family 
to Stockport North Circuit, to which Dr. 
Newton was appointed in 1S4T, Nff^ find 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 169 

that they were received with much kind- 
ness by the stewards and friends. Here, 
as in Manchester, whatever disagreeables 
may have been met with without, at home 
all was harmony and sunshine. Under that 
roof there was nothing to chill the heart's 
best feelings, or to check the ardour of confi- 
dential intercourse. But his own health, and 
the health of Mrs. Newton, became more feeble 
as they approached the age of " threescore years 
and ten," — the allotted term of man's life. Dr. 
Newton suflFered from a chronic cough, "a 
churchyard cough," as he often called it; 
while Mrs. Newton was accustomed to say that 
she had a constant monitor in her increasing 
deafness. " I and my husband," she says, in 
her diary, "are now gently reminded that 
our time in this ^vale of tears' is passing 
away. ... I am enabled to leave all with 
the Providential Disposer of events, and trust 
in Him as the keeper of my soul and my entire 
dependence. And when I quit this scene of 
conflict and perplexity, every mystery shall be 
cleared up. I shall know not ^in part' but 
perfectly. 0, when that hour comes which 
shall separate me from all that I hold dear to 
me in life, may I find Thee near to save I I 
cannot hear the word as I have been accustomed 
to do in times past ; yet my infirmity is some- 
times a scource of great comioxt,feit\^\si^<» 

170 Life of Mrs, Nczvton. 

with God when snrronnded with companr. 
Yes, time with me is nearly gone, and etemity 
i8 at hand. But the love of Christ seems 
dearer as I draw near the eternal world. I 
often tliink, in the seclnsion of my own heart, 
of the mysteries of the home above, — ^the avo- 
cations of ^ the spirits of the jnst,* of their bliss, 
their movements, .... their intercom^ 
their light — God and the Lamb; — there can 
be no darkness where He is the Light> 
I long the vast beyond to know, 
Yet tremble through the gulf to go. 

Yet, Holy Lamb ! can I shrink to follow where 
Thou hast led the way ? The grave is cold, and 
the idea of death appalling ; but Thou hast lain 
there in Thy humanity. 0, Sun of Righteous-* 
ness I cause the ^ face of death to smile * when 
he comes to me with the awful summons, and 
make me ready for that call ! I have no hope 
but in Thee. I desire no other refuge. I can, 
and do, and by Thy grace assisting I willj trast 
Thee, in life, and in death. Thou art a tower 
to which I may safely fly for shelter when 
Satan and my heart would say I am unworthy 
of Thy love. To that love and mercy I fly for 
help. While I remain here, keep me from the 
evil of the world ; and may I finally rest in Thy 

Notwithstanding her advanced age, and the 
infirmity of deoftieBs to w\v\c\v Mr^. "^e^^a^ ^o 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 171 

often refers, she visited in the course of this 
year her daughter, Mrs. Gill ; accompanied by 
whom she made a short tour through the vale 
of York, that she might see once more the 
grave of her father and her brother, and the 
home of her childhood. The lady who then 
occupied Skelton-Hall allowed her to stand 
again on the old hearth of her youth, and to 
enter the apartment which was made sacred to 
her by the recollections of the vows and prayers 
of her first entrance upon the life of faith. 
Nearly fifty long eventful years had rolled 
away, bearing with them their tide of joy and 
hope, sorrow and death ; but the green land- 
scape, and the chamber overlooking field and 
meadow, were the same. Early blossoms were 
still on the orchard below, and spring flowers 
in the garden where she used once to pass her 
early mornings. She entered the village church, 
and bent over the two beloved tombs, the in- 
scriptions on which were still legible; and 
the altar was before her, where she had stood 
with her husband on that bright September 
morning of her wedding-day. But while her 
heart was occupied with these busy memories 
of the past, there were but one or two of the 
villagers who could recollect anything of 
Miss Nodes of Skelton. Many graves had been 
opened and closed in that quiet churchyard 
since the year 1802 ; and tii^te N^^xa Tiorw^ Tiss' 
Q 2 

172 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

left to tell how the marriage-bells were rung 
and broken, in the eager haste of the lingen, 
and how the young bride left home in that plain 
Methodist bonnet with her handsome hnsband, 
— or how the poor people about the village and 
the surrounding hamlets felt when they lost 
their kind sympathizing friend. 

Shortly after her return to Stockport Mrs. 
Newton heard of the sudden death of her son- 
in-law, Mr. Paulet, of Seaforth, and visited her 
daughter, that she might assist her in the 
necessary arrangements for the sad closing 
scene. "Another break in our family,'* she 
writes : "may the painftil dispensation be sanc- 
tified ; and if the cares of earth press heavily, 
may we feel that underneath are * the ever- 
lasting arms.' I and my husband are spared, 
while others much younger than ourselves are 
taken. Yet we are drawing nearer home : we 
feel it by the long fatigues of the journey, ^ the 
greatness of the way.' Often did I think dur- 
ing the past year that it would be my last 
summer on earth ; but I have been preserved. 
My reason and thinking powers are, mercifully, 
perhaps unimpaired; and if I cannot enjoy 
conversation, my thoughts seem to get new 
wings in my silence ; and I am grateful for 
the aid of glasses, by the use of which I can 
read and work as I was wont to do. We are 
entering upon the last eis: moiitb& of o\ir teai- 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 173 

dence at Stockport. May the Lord be our 
leader and guide in the appointment of our new 
earthly home ; and may my dear husband be 
spared in health, and the infirmities of age 
come to him only as gentle harbingers of the 
promised rest." 

Dr. Newton was again appointed, in 1850, 
to Liverpool, and his family took possession of 
their ftesh home in the following September. 
" We live on the Cheshire side of the river," 
Mrs. Newton writes to one of her daughters. 
" I had some anxiety at first at the prospect of 
my husband's having to return home late after 
preaching in Liverpool ; but he bears it pretty 
well. The house we occupy is small, but so 
near the river that we seem to live on board a 
vessel. 0, how I enjoy the moonlight, at 
high water, when the lordly steamers pass near 
our window !" The beautiful situation was pleas- 
ing to Mrs. Newton and her family ; but Dr» 
Newton'*s health failed rapidly from the period 
of his appointment to this Circuit. It was, as 
he had often anticipated, when speaking of it 
to his wife, his hM regular appointment. In 
the second year of his ministry in this sphere 
of labour he was attacked with those symp- 
toms which eventually ended in the seizure 
that occasioned his death. Indeed, it became 
now necessary for him to letvt^ feorca. ^\i^ 
life. The kindness of ttioa^ fe\a^^^ ^V^ %^ 
Q 3 


174 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

gested and carried out the arrangements for 
presenting a United Testimonial to himself and 
Dr. Bunting had, in this year, smoothed the way, 
and added comfort to his declining years. But 
he loved his work, and it was hard for him to 
relinquish the hallowed labour which had con- 
tinued uninterrupted for half a century. In 
conjunction with his son-in-law, Mr. Jackson, 
he at length decided upon taking a house at 
Southport This determination was much in 
harmony with Mrs. Newton's wishes, and the 
family left Liverpool in the summer of 1852. 
But though the air of Southport was salubrious, 
and the situation and society there everything 
that could be desired, Dr. Newton's heart 
yearned after his home in Yorkshire. He 
longed for the bracing stillness of the moors, 
where he had spent his early youth, and to hear 
again the hymns that " Sister Mary" used to 
sing, when they began life together, — ^far away 
at Eoxby. The busy stir of the rising fashion- 
able watering-place did not accord with his 
heart's sympathies. The noise, and the com- 
pany, and the whirl of the wheels of c€ur- 
riages and stages, disturbed the repose which 
it was evident he so much needed. He still 
retained a measure of health, and his ami- 
able temper and guileless conversation yet 
threw their charm over the home-circle, now 
often enlivened by the -pieaenciei oi laia Woved 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 175 

daughter Rebecca, and her husband and child- 
ren. But when the shadows of evening closed, 
and the curtains were drawn, and the sounds in • 
the street without well-nigh hushed, he loved 
to sit in the easy-chair, calling back the 
memory of those buried years, and the spectral 
band of dear friends who had long entered the 
invisible world. Once he paid a visit to Mrs. 
Gill, accompanied by his youngest daughter, 
and went with her to attend the service at the 
little chapel at Crayke. The bam-like building 
was crowded to the doors ; and as he returned 
to Mr. Gill's house through the misty fields, he 
seemed to regain something of his old buoy- 
ancy of feeling. * ^ Did you notice the concluding 
hymn?" he said, as he hummed it over again. 
" I have never heard it since I was at Roxby. 
My sister Mary used to sing that hymn when 
I was a young lad. What a dream is human 

While residing at Southport Dr. and Mrs. 
Newton celebrated the jubilee of their wedding. 
Many of their children were present, and not a 
few of their grandchildren. The tables were 
ornamented with the choice wild flowers of 
September, and the innocent mirth and prattle 
of childhood mixed with the sober and earnest 
reflections of venerable age. "My home 
abounds with comforts and indulgences," aaya 
Mrs. Newton; "aiidthouglitk^Ao^xSi^'^il^^^^^^'?, 

176 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Hccm gathering, I still trust at 'cTentide it 
sliall be light,' — light in Thy presenoeL I try 
daily to call my heart to rise from earth to 
brighter scenes. I know my hope is cast ' within 
tlio veil.' I have much to lament, — ^in my own 
unworthincss, my coldness, my wanderings in 
devotion ; but, Lord, do Thou view me, not 
as in myself, but in the face of Thine Anointed 

The following little poem appears to have 
been written at this period, during her residence 
at the sea-side : — 

" * Peace, be still !* the Saviour said. 
And the elements obe/d : 
Their Creator's power could charm 
The rough billows to a calm. 
that I uiay ever hear 
That voice whisper in my ear, 
Through the grasp of every ill, 
*I am with Thee : Peace, be still !' 

" When the bitter tear I shed 
O'er the absent or the dead; 
When I secretly bemoan 
Comforts fled, or dear ones gone; 
When my faith so languid lies, 
Hope receives no fresh supplies,— 
Let my sad rebellious will 
Hear Thee whisper, * Peace, be still!* 

*^When my sinfulness I see, 
Vile, unholy, unlike Thee, 
In Thy Spirit's purest beam 
So unworthy do 1 aeem, — 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 177 

Scarce dare lift my eyes aboye, 
Doubting, Saviour, of Thy love, — 
Let that whisper cheer me still, 
* I am with thee : Peace, be still !* " 

Again her diary continues: *^May I go 
where Thou dost lead. Let Thy Spirit guide 
me, and Thy love influence all my actions. 
May I not shrink from the cross, but follow 
Thee whithersoever Thou goest I look up to 
Thee, my sure Eefuge. I would rest on the 
Rock of Ages, or be hid in the cleft of that 
Rock for ever. 0, how dear to me is the truth 
that God can be just, and yet the * justifier of 
him that believeth in Jesus!* ** 

In the spring of 1854 Dr. Newton and his 
family returned to his native county, a house 
having been taken at Easingwold, at which 
retired country-town he desired to complete the 
days of his earthly pilgrimage. Mrs. Newton 
left Southport with much regret Perhaps she 
anticipated the trial that so shortly awaited 
her. " I took a sad leave," she says, " of Mr. 
and Mrs. Sargent, and many other kind 
friends ; and was most unwilling to quit the old 
sand-hills, which were in my mind linked to 
many sweet reminiscences of my married life, 
when the children were young, and my dear 
mother was with me. But God sees the end from 
the beginning, and He knows what is for the 
best." It was more paiafol ye^t iat>afist\ftVMR^ 

178 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, and her prattling little 
grandchildren ; but her residence in Yorkshire 
was in close proximity to the home of Mr. and 
Mrs. Gill, and she looked with pleasure to the 
prospect of meeting them and their family. 
She went to Easingwold a little before her hus- 
band, to prepare the house for his reception, 
accompanied by one of her daughters. When 
the hurry and excitement of the removal were 
over, he joined her; but he looked ill and 
fatigued as he entered the door of his last 
earthly dwelling, and threw a look of satisfac- 
tion round the snug parlour. Two or three 
friends soon came in to welcome and chat with 
him ; but even the pleasant social talk of the 
evening soon proved too much for him. He 
longed for rest — for repose; and it pleased God 
to send it him in the course of a few short days. 
Still, Mrs. Newton apprehended no immediate 
danger, as she strolled with him in the garden 
the following morning. His cough was no 
worse ; the attacks of diflScult breathing were 
not more frequent. His spirits had rallied a 
little, and he was beginning to take an interest 
in what he playfully called " the farm,'* feed^ 
ing the pigeons, and caressing the pony, and 
giving directions about the pig and the poultry. 
Then, when evening came, he would listen to 
his favourite hymns on the harp, often accom- 
panying his daughter witti Taia o^m. da^^ voice 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 179 

to the air, which once — fifty-four years ago, 
we may remember — he had sung in Dicky 
Burdsall's parlour, behind the shop :— 

** Away, my unbelieving fear ! 

Fear shall in me no more have place ! 
My Saviour doth not yet appear, 

He hides the brightness of His face. 
And shall I therefore let Him go, 

And basely to the tempter yield ? 
No ; — ^in the strength of Jesus, no ; — 

I never will give up my shield. 

" Although the vine its fruit deny. 

Although the olive yield no oilj 
The withering fig-tree droop and die, 

The field elude the tiller's toil, 
The empty stall no herd afford. 

And perish all the bleating race ; 
Yet I will triumph in the Lord, 

The God of my salvation praise !** 

Or he would ask for the air of the " Quaker's 
Dream ;" and tell how old " Dicky" had heard 
it in his boyish days, and had afterwards been 
haunted by the pleasant melody, till he deter* 
mined to use it for his Master's glory, along 
with the little hymn beginning, — 

" The voice of free grace 

Cries, Escape to the mountain !" 

.It is evident that Dr. ISewtox^ a\i\;\Qiv5^Wk.Vv^ 

180 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

speedy departure, and was now hourly awaiting 
the summons of his Lord. 

" We shall have so many pleasant drives to 
country Missionary Meetings, this summer!" 
said one of his daughters, endeavouring to 
touch the old chord, and knowing that his 
heart would vibrate. His eye met hers, and 
there was something of his old look, as his face 
lighted up. But he only smiled, and said, 
" Never again." 

The closing scene of this great and good 
man's life has been detailed at length by one 
of his daughters in his Biography by Mr. 
Jackson. The following particulars are taken 
from her narrative : — 

Dr. Newton's last and fatal seizure was on 
the morning of April 25th, just fifteen days 
after his arrival at Easingwold. Contrary to 
the expectation of his medical attendant, he 
lingered until the following Sunday morning ; 
and during this interval of extreme physical 
prostration, he preached his glorious dying 
sermon, — gave witness with his latest breath to 
the power of Divine truth. If at times his 
language was incoherent, it was the inco- 
herence of broken and disjointed prayers and 
praises. Once he attempted to repeat the 
hymn he had been so long accustomed to sing 
on the Saturday evening at family-worship, the 
second verse of wHcIdl is, — 

Life of Mrs. Newto7i. 181 

" Jesus, confirm my heart's desire, 

To work, and speak, and think for Thee," &c. 

In theserviceof his Master he had nearly reached 
tiie concluding scene of all, and was conscious 
that "death" would soon ^'makethe sacrifice 
complete." His powers of articulation had be- 
come imperfect, his voice was nearly gone, but 
still he " smiled, and praised, and waved his 
hand." On the Thursday morning he called for 
each member of his family then present, and 
took leave of them by name. After a short pause 
he looked for Mrs. Newton, and, grasping her 
hand, said, feebly, " Farewell, my own love." 
On Friday .he conversed with apparent ease, 
exhorting those around him to live to God; 
and when his daughter, Mrs. Gill, was repeat- 
ing the verse of the hymn, " Away, sad doubt 
and anxious fear I" he interrupted her, saying, 
" I have no fear. ' Perfect love casteth 
out fear.'" On Saturday morning the last 
struggle drew on, his difficulty of breath- 
ing increased, and it was evident he was 
entering into the valley of the shadow of death. 
Mrs. Gill, whose clear voice he could always 
hear, repeated the hymn beginning, 

" Stand the* omnipotent decree ; 
Jehovah's will be done !" 

He made an attempt to speak, and we could 
catch a few disjointed sentences; such as, "lam 
the Resurrection," — " God " — ^^^ 5^^\x^ CJt3L\\%\.^ 


182 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

the ransom of sinners," — " Praise the Lord, all 
the earth." In about an hour he sank back 
exhausted; his lips moved, as if in prayer ; he 
folded his hands on his breast, and was heard 
pouring out his soul in intercession for his 
family. By putting the ear close to his month, 
we distinctly heard his dying testimony : " I am 
going to leave you ; but God will be with you." 
"Farewell; I am going to join the myriads 
of angels and archangels before the throne of 
Grod. Farewell sin, and farewell death. Praise 
the Lord. Praise Him for ever." He again made 
an eflfort to speak, and we heard him say, " Praise 
God—praise — ; " and at one o'clock on Saturday 
the voice that had so often led the prayers and 
praises of the congregation was hushed for ever. 
We cannot refrain from copying the subjoined 
verses, which appeared, we know not from whose 
pen, in one of the provincial papers : — 

" He had sat down to rest, 
His girdle loosed, and laid his sandals by, 
Waywom, and turning to his Father's home 
His waiting eye. 

" We have beheld the clouds 
Drink in the glory of the' approaching sun, 
Till all transparent, kindling in his beams, 
They seem'd but one. 

" Thus earnestly he gazed, 
When sudden fell upon his raptured ear 
The chimes of that far temple, sought so long, 
But now so near •, — 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 183 

" And on his face there streamed 
A holy radiance from the shrine above, 
Flooding each feature with the mingling light 
Of joy and love. 

" He waved his hand and smiled, 
From the deep bliss of his exulting heart 
Pouring rich eloquence ; then silent lay, 
Nigh to depart. 

" A voice celestial spake, — 
* Greatly beloved, the Master calleth thee ; 
Thy mansion is prepared, the triumph waits ; 
Rise, follow me.' 

" Then, ' Farewell sin and death !' 
And straightway he was gone. boundless joy ! 
Safe gathered to his fathers, to their home. 
To their employ. * 

" Gk)ne to thy Saviour's rest ; 
Star of the church, how bright thy setting here ! 
What then the glory, when at His right hand 
Thou shalt appear !" 

The day of the ftmeral came, and Mrs. 
Newton saw the slow procession move from 
the house to the church, followed by several 
eminent ministers, and crowds of rustic friends, 
singing hymns of praise. But she bore 
up bravely in the loneliness of her own 
room. He was gone; but she was following 
fast behind. She knew their separation would 
be short, even at the longest ; it might be but 
a few brief months. On tiie ^%V!tL ^i^^i A^^^ 


lS4i Life of Mrs. Newton. 

weeks after her hnsband's death, she has 
courage enough to resume her diary, and thus 
records her experience : — " One month only has 
passed, and I am a widow. The sun has risen 
as bright, and the moon has shone the same, 
as when he was with me. All nature is un- 
changed ; but I have felt a change come over 
me unknown before. Yet, I had help ; the 
arm of Omnipotence has upheld me; and 
eternity appeared so near, the scenes of time 
seemed to lose their interest and importance 
in the blaze of its glories, and in the prospect 
of our speedy re-union. My feet seemed firm, 
and the path of life as brass beneath me. 

' Such is the Divine promise. I felt power to 
plead for its fulfilment, and it was mine. 
Gratefully and humbly I trust it was, and iSy 
mine. As my ^ day ' is, so will be my ^ strength.* 
The wish of my heart is, that my whole powers 
of being should centre in devotion to the God 
of my mercies, and Saviour of my soul. Thou 
knowest, holy Lamb, for what I prayed in 
the anguish of my heart, when his life was 
passing away. May that prayer be heard I 

The hours of bereavement 

have become a melancholy calm, but not a for- 
getfulness of the past. I have much to be 
thankful fori Give me more love to Thee, 
my long-known Saviour. Let Thy Spirit yet 

^moTii sensibly within me dvieW ''' 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 186 

She had continued to correspond with the com- 
panion of her girlhood throughout the long period 
of her married life ; and among the many kind 
and interesting letters of sympathy which she 
at this period received, we find a touching 

one from her oldest friend, Mrs. D , who 

was herself now an aged widow. 

After Dr. Newton's death, circumstances, 
which it is needless to refer to in these pages, 
led Mrs. Newton to reside with her youngest 
son, who was then the curate of a rural village 
in Yorkshire. Her love for the seclusion of 
country life naturally deepened with her ad- 
vancing years. The impressions of her child- 
hood, imbibed in her early home at Skelton, 
threw their spell over her old age. She loved 
to cherish the tastes and follow the employ- 
ments of her youth, — to tend the flowers, to 
ramble, within an easy walk of the house, 
in search of ferns and mosses ; showing her 
sympathy for the poor and the sick in the 
neighbourhood, by sending them little dinners 
of her own preparation. Her deafness shut 
her out from all the pleasure of conversational 
intercourse. The members of her family had 
to raise their voices so high to enable her to 
hear, that she began to hold all communica- 
tion through writing. And the pen and pencil 
were ever her solace. She used to sit by t\v<^ 
window^, holding commmiioTv m^ '\v^^ <^^^ 

186 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

heart, sometimes pouring out her feelings in 
such verses as the following : — 

" I follow, with a tearful eye, 
The setting san in yonder sky ; 

It tells a tale to me ; 
It says, * Like my declining ray, 
So is your life's departing day. 

Soon its last hour will be/ 

" 'Tis true ! but I, like thee, shall rise — 
Shall lift my head in brighter skies. 

When night and death are o'er ! 
Thy boasted glow is but a ray 
From Him whose light will be my day 
When time shall be no more.** 

But one or two passages from her letters 
of this period will give us the best picture 
of the manner in which she now passed her 

" I thought your letter long in coming, and 

am thankful to hear that you and dear C 

are well. The old man at B was living 

on Friday. I drove J with pony, and we 

called. Our friend from S and a preacher 

who had been attending the Missionary Meet- 
ing had also seen him, but I fear he was hardly 

conscious of anything. Mr. D is very ilL 

I have sent him some soup. I spend my days 

in working and reading Many 

iave been my prayers iot fti^ C»cyaSfcx«aRA va. 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 187 

my lonely room, usually concluding with a 
petition against party-feeling. The papers are 
now very interesting ; but it fatigues my eyes 
to read long." Again, she writes to Mrs. Gill : 
" How beautiful is the morality of the New 
Testament I I have been reading it through 
again. Few other books suit me now. I am 
sorry your governess is leaving you ; for I think 
she is a Christian. I have done with party- 
names; but that one word [Christian] is a 

standard of all that is good. my C , 

looking back upon my long life, and remem- 
bering so many changes, and on the verge of 
'that great change, eternity, how little all 
worldly cares appear ! and yet how often they 
intrude ! " 

Mrs. Newton had the satisfaction in her de- 
clining life of having most of her family near 
her. In the spring of I860 her son left York- 
shire for the south of England. She accom- 
panied him to his residence at Shelley, where, 
in the retirement of a village-parsonage, the 
last six years of her life were past. ' Her ex- 
treme deafness had long rendered it vain for 
her to attend the public services of the Lord's 
house, except on the occasions of holy com- 
munion. Nor could she latterly maintain any 
fellowship in the way of conversational inter- 
course with her Methodist friends, Tfe^. 
guarterJy ticket was passed to \iet m^\^^XKt-» 

188 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

from her friend Mrs. W ,ofIlkley, with whom 

»ho managed to correspond until within a few 
months of her death. But the diary of sixty 
years is continued with little interruption, and 
the familiar writing-desk is stored with little 
hymns and poems, until the firm hand of 
youth and mature age hecomes the feehle, 
shaky scratch of the pen which is barely 
legible. We have nothing to record of this 
period of her life. The diary must tell its 
own story : — 

" The loss of memory is great ; but I find 
some little amusement in the trifles in which 
I can engage without fatigue. Thinking of the 
past so much at times occasions a melancholy 
feeling ; but I feel it is the means of raising 
my thoughts from things earthly to things 
heavenly. I can only ask for a sanctified use 
of my many mercies, and that my remaining 
hours may be consecrated to God. I feel 
grateful for the power of thought. Eedeeming 
love is often on my mind ; and though I am 
tempted sometimes with doubts and thoughts 
which seem to say, — 

* 0, can it be, 
The Lord of heaven should die for me ?' 

I try to dispel them and take refuge in the 
eternal promise. Here I rest, looking for the 
coming of death. B-ctxacm^ \)ciG eN^\i\a ^^^ixsi:^ 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 189 

past life, I see many sins of omission and com- 
mission, many errors and infirmities; but I 
know that Jesus died. I desire no other 
refuofe : 


* Every moment, Lord, I need 
The merit of Thy death.' 

Blessed Saviour! Thou didst become incarnate 
for us, and knowest the infirmities of our frail 
nature, and its struggles. Thou art my Advo- 
cate, and with Thee I trust my case. Every 
day says, * Be ye ready ; for the Son of man 
cometh.' " 

On the 31st of April, 1864, the anniversary 
of Dr. Newton's death, she writes : — 

" April ! foretelling beauteous summer nigh, 
Why do I meet thy promise with a sigh \ 
Nor give one smile thy eariy flowers to meet. 
Which spread their fragrance now beneath my feet ? 

Ah, memory tells a tale. 
That brings me back one April past : 
And long as thought and seasons last, 

That April I bewail. 

" As if it would my thoughtless heart beguile, 
It opened to me with a treacherous smile, 
And told of home, sweet home, and eari;hly love, 
And joyful promise of our home above. 

But, ah, a change was near ; 
And e'er thy brief spring days departed 
Grim death beheld me broken-hearted, 
Without one hope to cheex. 

190 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

" But God was near : I sought the help Divine, 
The widow's help, and found the promise mine : 
And in that awful hour, I seem'd to meet 
One from above to guide my wandering feet, 

And calm my troubled breast ! — 
Long have I lingered here, and still remain, 
To SCO thee, beauteous April, come again. 

Finding in God my rest." 

At this period Mrs. Newton often referred 
with interest to the last letter her husband had 
received, now twenty years ago, from her old 
friend Mr. Brackenbury ; in which, after ex- 
pressing his wish to welcome him once more 
under his roof, he says, " I now feel confident 
I am fast hastening to the grave, and forcibly 
feel the truth of that passage in Holy Writ ; 
for to me, indeed, the * grasshopper has become 
a burden,' the * silver cord loosed,' and ^ the 
golden bowl broken : ' yet I trust I can through 
mercy say, * The will of the good and gracious 
Lord be done.' " Many circumstances of her life 
were fading from her recollection ; but not the 
vision of the cross, or the remembrance of those 
good angels who were about her path when 
she stood as on the threshold of her religious 
warfare. K she had, at moments, forgotten 
the names of her own children, she could recall 

the sainted Mrs. P , and Mrs. Brackenbury, 

and Mr. Hemington, and Richard Burdsall; 
and tell her daughter pleasant stories of their 
doinga at York, in ttic >N^\VT^m^m\^tQd year 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 191 

1800. "Ah, I longed to depart then," she 
would say ; " but I had not so many earthly 
attractions. I wished I had lived in the days 
of the noble ^arrny of martyrs,' and might 
have given my life for the love of Christ. But 
perhaps I did not know myself. I was young 
in Christian experience, and often hasty in con- 
demning those that diflfered from me : still — 

Blest be the hours ! remembrance calls them sweet, 

When Jesu's love could every sorrow drown : 
Lost in ecstatic rapture at His feet, 

I longed, for Him, to wear a martyr's crown. 
How poor appeai'd the idle toys of earth ! 

How mean its pleasures — unsubstantial all ! 
My rising soul, exulting in her birth. 

Sprang to her home, and burst their hateful thrall. 
And shall these trifles now again entwine 

Their baneful fetters round my ransomed heart ? 
No ; such low thoughts for ever I resign, 

And fear no ill but from my Lord to part 1 

How blest to be for ever with the Lord I to 
rest in His presence who is Infinite Purity and 
Infinite Love ! Surely one ought to be anxious 
to depart." 

We are unwilling to pass over the following 
verses, found amongst her papers : though they 
are not dated, they were evidently written very 
late in life : — 

" I ask for faith to realise the bright. 
The dazzling, prospects of yon Wa-^eiA^ \\^\,\ 

192 Life of Mrs, Newton. 

Through mists and errors, sinful though I be, 
I catch its rays ; but, ah, too quick they flee \ 
And earthly scenes of care and trouble rise, 
To veil the cheering prospect from my eyes. 
But let me view with steadfast faith the grace 
That beams eternal in my Saviour's face, 
And calmly rest where His mild glories shine, 
And feel His intercession ever mine : 
That prospect can a ray so bright impart. 
As hides all other objects from my heart, — 
And gazing on day's orb, in noontide pride, 
Throws darkness over all the world beside." 

Surely, few but those who have leaned daily on 
"the staff of religion," and whose lives have 
been regulated by the temperance and wisdom 
which are &om above, could have written thus 
after the lapse of fourscore summers. 

Soon after Mrs. Newton's arrival at Shelley 
she heard of the death of the only surviving 
member of the family at Roxby. Mr. Francis 
Newton died at his house at Thorpe, near 
Whitby, at the advanced age of eighty-one, 
having completed a long life of earnest faith 
and duty, and relying to the end on the merits 
of his Lord and Saviour. In the course of the 
following year Mr. and Mrs. Gill lost their 
youngest son, a fine promising boy at school. 
" I trust your dear boy is with the Lord," 
Mrs. Newton writes to her daughter. " I feel 
it a long time since I talked with you in my 
way. I am gently dealt ^V\u\i xxiA^x Tcvany 

Life of Mrs, Newton, 193 

infirmities. All are dying around me of my 
old friends, and I feel my own life very un- 
certain ; but I trust I can leave my all in His 
hands. He is my constant upholder in my 
long hours of loneliness." Again, she says, 
" I can sit still, and look at the beauties of 
nature, feeling that, old as I am, I am in no 
hurry to depart and leave the dear ones I see 
around me. How is this consistent with 
having a desire to be with Christ? I can only 
leave all this, and appeal to His love and faith- 
fulness. K Calvary's tale is true, I want no 
other hope. I can trust my sins and failures 
to His mercy." 

But the insatiable shaft of death was destined 
to strike thrice, and again, before the expiration 
of two more years. In the spring of 1863 Mrs. 
Jackson, whose health had never been strong 
from her childhood, was again attacked with 
inflammation of the lungs, and, despite all the 
care and attention of physicians, or the lavished 
affection of her attached husband and family, 
she sank into the grave, breathing out her re- 
deemed spirit in the language of old Simeon : 
" Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in 
peace ; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." 
She had many dear ties to life ; and at the 
commencement of her illness she had told 
her husband that, though she was ready to 
depart, if it were tla.^ liOi^'^ ns\SS.^ ^aa- 
s ■ 

194 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

would wish to live a little longer. But as 
she drew nearer the gates of the celestial city, 
the faith of the Christian triumphed over all 
earthly love. It was the end of a pure and 
blameless life. " I bless the Author of life for 
such a daughter," says Mrs. Newton, " even 
though she is taken from me. I am satisfied 
that my loss, and her family's loss, is her gain. 
I soon must follow. May I be prepared for 
the call. Aged beyond the usual term of life, 
I cannot expect to continue here much longer. 
My eyes grow dim. Reading is a diflSculty ; 
yet I have many mercies. My memory fails 
me; yet I can always retain the sense of 
Almighty Love in the life and death of my risen 
Saviour. Thou art my hope, my trust. All 
else fails me; but mercy is Thine, and there 
Irest. Thou art my all, my only Saviour. — July 
26th, 1863." 

The tokens of mourning had not been worn 
ten months for Mrs. Jackson before another 
member of Mrs. Newton's family, one who had 
been for many long years the source of a 
mother's constant anxiety, and a subject of her 
prayers, was called away by death. He died at 
the house of his brother-in-law, Mr. Gill, after 
a short illness, just when the bells had ushered 
in the year 1864. He departed in penitence 
and hope, and was buried in the cemetery at 
Mddlesborough. A SYm^\^ ctc^^^ maxka his 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 195 

last resting-place. " Si quid boni riosciSy die; 
si nouy taceJ*^ When the event of his unex- 
pected death was communicated to Mrs. Newton, 
she merely asked, "Is there hope?" Her 
daughter answered, " The telegraphic message 
was, ^He died in peace.'" "Then, thank 
God I " was the reply. She afterwards heard, 
that he had spoken during his painful illness 
penitently and calmly of his trust in the death 
and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, of his con- 
fidence that his prayers were heard, falling back 
upon the truths that he had been taught in 
the nursery at Wakefield, and finding solace in 
the hymn which his sister's children were so 
often singing in the room below that in which 
he slept : — 

"Just as I am, without one plea, 
But that Thy blood was shed for me, 
And that Thou bid*st me come to Thee, 
Lamb of God, I come. 

" Just as I am, and waiting not 
To rid my soul of one dark spot ; 
To Thee whose love can cleanse each blot, 
Lamb of God, I come. 

" Just as I am, Thy love unknown 
Has broken every barrier down ; 
Now to be Thine, yea. Thine alone, 

Lamb of God, I come : " &c. 

His last words were, " 1 scca. ?,cy«i?» V<5ss^^> 

B 2 

196 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Amen." We are not forbidden to trust that 
his "tuneful soul" is now with the redeemed 
harmonious company in heaven. 

"Deaf, and blind, and old," says Mrs. 
Newton, again writing to Mrs. Gill, "yet I 
can manage to write a line to you and your 
husband, for your kindness to those dear to 
me. Life passes away like a dream, and all 
around me dies away. I must soon follow. 
To One alone I look for help in that hour 
which shall separate this worn body from the 
still unchanged and undying soul. This year 
has begun in sorrow ; but all has been mixed 
with mercy. May we be found watching I " 

In the spring following she had a serious 
attack of illness, and her medical adviser did 
not give the slightest hope of her recovery. On 
hearing his opinion, she gave directions con- 
cerning her funeral; and, having taken leave 
of her children, requested her son to administer 
to her the holy sacrament In the quietness 
of the sick-room she joined two or three of 
her family in the communion of saints, and 
expressed her unshaken trust in Grod. She 
spoke calmly, and with wonderful recollection^ 
of the greatness of eternal love, of the mystery 
of human redemption, and of her faith in Him 
who had now called her to " tread the vale of 
death. " Upon one occasion, when her daughter 
wm sitting by her, ske \i«b% «j^<i^ \£ «hQ re- 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 197 

membered Skelton, and her friend Mrs. P , 

and her first meeting with Mr. Michison. 
" 0, yes ;" the whole scene was fresh in her 
mind. She could recall the village-church, 
and the sermon, and the place where she was 
kneeling, when she vowed to renounce every- 
thing she then held dear, if she might know 
the truth of God, and be made happy in Christ 
her Saviour ; and presently she repeated, — 

" Light o*er my thoughts the past and present flies, 
But deeper far the awful future lies ; 
For soon the past and present will have flown, 
The future lies in regions yet to me unknown. 

" O thou sweet hope ! the anchor of my soul. 
Be ever near, my every doubt control ; 
From me let all but/ait^, and iMypz depart, 
m clasp Thy lone, for ever to my heart." 

Contrary to the expectations of her friends, 
she recovered, and was restored to a measm*e of 
health. But life was now labour and sorrow ; 
the infirmities of age were increasing ; and she 
was often too weak to take her accustomed 
walk round the garden, and gather her favourite 
fiowers. On the 3d of September, 1864, the last 
anniversary of her birth, she was well enough 
to invite her little grandchildren to spend 
the evening with her, together with the poor 
aged people of the village. They had tea and 
plum-cake together, and ^aug^ ^^TcLVi"v^^\iva% 

198 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

Hymn;" and then the girls listened to her 
stories of the olden time, of her own child- 
hood, remembered for eighty years, of village 
wakes and fairs, and superstitious observances- 
on St. Mark's eve. 

" This month," continues the diary, " I have 
seen the return of my eighty-fifth birthday. 
My growing weakness whispers of life's de- 
cline. Recollections of the past are still most 
vivid. Trifles of yesterday often vanish from 
my mind, but I can recall events long distant 
0, how much is crowded into those recol- 
lections! Friends, loved almost to idolatry, 
gone. Disappointed hopes; again kingdoms- 
overturned, and crowned heads dethroned." 

The following little poem is dated Marchy 
1865 : it must have been written rather earlier^ 
but it was probably the last she attempted to» 
copy :— 

" my long life ! now pass'd away 
Like the frail tales of yesterday. 
I look around; no help I see ; 
One hope alone remains for me, — 
Redeeming love! to this I fly : 
My Saviour lives ! I shall not die. 

" Oft on my bed, like drooping wiUow, 
Tears have moistened my sad pillow^ 
Till mom arose with golden smile, 
To cheer my sorrows or beguile. 
Redeeming love I to this I fly : 
My Saviour lives \ l?i\is2!k!LTvot^\t. 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 199 

" Still on life's verge I trembling stand, 
A voice says, * Watch, the time's at hand.' 
I feel each thought that I have known 
Is open to the' Eternal Throne. 
Redeeming love ! to this I fly : 
My Saviour lives ! I shall not die." 

" As a child I lie passive in the anns of the 
eternal Father, having no trust but in His 
mercy, through the love of my adorable 
Redeemer. I am a sinner; but He is my 
Saviour." " Once more I have approached the 
Lord's table, and received the memorials of 
Christ's dying love, from the hands of my 

beloved F . My deafness was a drawback 

to my feelings ; but as I kneeled and received 
the sacred tokens, I did, I think, feel power to 
remember Christ, and trust myself confidently 
to His mercy ; while, with tears of hope and 
fear, my mind rapidly ran on, and I thought of 
my son's grave beside my own, in that secluded 
churchyard." It was the last time she entered 
the church. During the winter months she 
was altogether confined to the house ; and when 
spring came, though she revived a little, it 
was plain that her remaining time must be 
counted by days or hours. She lived to see the 
landscape in its summer beauty, however, once 
more ; but faded before the autumn leaf had 
turned or fluttered to the ground. Yet the 
sands of life ran out slowly. She was obl\%<i.^\Rk 
restrict herself to the up]pet looxaa oi 'OftaV^^^R.-i 

200 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

on account of the difficulty of breathing in as- 
cending the stairs. She was confined during the 
day to the sofa ; until, at length, her extreme 
weakness made it impossible for her to quit 
her bed. There she remained only for a few 
days. She gladly recognised her daughter, 
Mrs. Gill, who had hurried from the north to 
take a last farewell. Once her son asked her 
if she felt any better. " It is a superfluous 
question," she said : " I must leave you;" ^d 
again she testified to her trust in God and His 
love. Her few remaining hours were passed 
in prayer and praise. The powers of speech at 
last failed, and the eye grew dim. On Satur- 
day evening, just as the last rays of the setting 
sun shone in the sick-chamber, life again 
seemed to flicker over the pale face. She turned 
her eyes to the place where her son was stand- 
ing, and seemed to give those that were now 
kneeling around her a look of recognition and 
farewell. The expression then changed to one 
of surprise and joy, and without a sigh she 
•' fell asleep." 

The vUlage-bells were tolling as the moon 
rose silently upon the green pastures around the 
parsonage, where the lifeless form lay, shrouded 
in the drapery of death; but who dares to 
write of the awakening of the immortal soul 
in the light of the eternal temple, — of the 
recog-nition of friends \ket^,— ol^^ ^Ssstf^icif 

Life of Mrs. Newton. 201 

the New Jerusalem, where there is "no more 
death, neither sorrow, nor crying," — of the 
swelling of the song of the redeemed, — and of 
the throne of God and of the Lamb ? 

Christian reader ! fellow-traveller to Mount 
Zion ! if you have followed me thus far in the 
memorial of one who has left the church on 
earth for the fellowship of saints in heaven, 
forget not to give thanks with me for those 
who "have departed this life in the faith and 
fear of Christ." And may you and I have 
grace so to follow their " good examples that, 
like them, we may be partakers of His 

Mrs. Newton's funeral took place on the 
12th of August, 1865. The wishes she had ex- 
pressed in reference to it were fully carried out, 
and her mortal remains rest close by the sacred 
spot where she had last publicly kneeled to 
show forth the Lord's death, in the little parish- 
church at Shelley. 

Her character may be read in the foregoing 
pages. Of her failings we are unwilling to 
write ; for even those failings leaned to virtue's 
side. But of her high principle, her true moral 
worth, and simple, evangelical piety, those 
who knew her best may venture to speak. The 
story of her inner life, which we have read 
in the diary of nearly seventy years, was in 
harmony with that book o£ \i<et Qro^x\iN&\ssr^ 

202 Life of Mrs. Newton, 

which was open to all. She was a guileless, 
unostentatious Christian, — a true representative 
of feminine excellence of character, — ever acting 
within the range of her allotted duty ; faiihM 
and devoted in the discharge of her obligations 
as a wife and a mother ; affectionate and for- 
bearing as a friend ; humble and childlike in 
her religious trust. Home was her sphere of 
action. Her orbit was within the shelter of 
the domestic circle. The quiet fireside was 
the centre of her earthly happiness ; and there 
she ministered, and blessed, and ruled with 
becoming grace, and pursued her steady, unpre- 
tending course. Perhaps she may have erred 
a little on the side of excessive indulgence ; her 
affectionate disposition leading her to delight in 
nameless acts of self-sacrifice, and instinctively 
to seek to throw the veil of kindness and for- 
bearance over the faults of those around her. 
But though she was not a Spartan mother, and 
her law was the " law of kindness," she 
was ever firm and true to her principles, 
where right and wrong were concerned. When 
questions arose in her household which called 
for the exercise of maternal counsel with re- 
spect to duty to God, her spirit rose with the 
occasion. Even in advanced age, when stand- 
ing as by her open grave, and in the shadow 
ot eternity, a weary and exhausted pilgrim, 
hei firmness was inmiovaJtAa* ^Yvax^xsyambered 

Life of Mrs, Newton. 203 

her Gk)d, and was faithful to the trust He had 
confided to h^r. 

Her respect for the Sabbath and the holy 
institutions of Christianity was a conspicuous 
ttait in her character. Her anxiety to preserve 
a proper decorum upon the sacred day, not less 
than her marked dread of infringing upon the 
stated hours of family-worship, perhaps ap- 
proached to formality. It is probable that the 
impressions caused by her early struggle to 
make a brave stand for the truth of God, when 
surrounded by the fashionable in youth, may 
have had some effect in occasioning these feel- 
ings. However this may be, they deepened 
with her years. There may have been some- 
thing of excess in them ; but they had their 
rise in the desire to glorify God, and to exalt 
the family-altar above obligations of minor 
importance. Another trait in her character 
was her diligence. She was never unemployed. 
From the time that it pleased God to call her 
from the world to the knowledge of His truth, 
till within a few days of her death, her life was 
one of activity. Her hands were busied with 
some little domestic work, even when her eye- 
sight had so far failed as to render reading and 
writing impracticable. She followed out to 
the letter the excellent rule of John Wesley, 
" Never be unemployed : never be triflingly 
employed : never while away tvwi^?'' 

204 Life of Mrs. Newton. 

The biography of the Christian believer carries 
with it its own lesson. It is not like the concep- 
tion of the sculptor or the painter, which, how- 
ever beautiful it may be, is but an image of 
his own creation, a delineation of an imaginarjr 
form. Biography is the unveiling of the inner 
life, — a record of the struggles and aspirations 
of the deathless soul. It is strong to teach in the 
inspiration reflected from above. It is thus 
the sainted dead yet speak ; thus they leave 
their " footprints on the sands of time," that 
we may take courage from their example, and 
be guided by their influence. " Blessed," says 
the voice from the eternal glory, " are the dead 
which die in the Lord ; . . • that they may 
rest from their labours ; and their works do 
follow them." 

'' 0, soothe us, haunt us, night and day, 
Ye gentle spirits far away, 
With whom we shared the cup of grace, 
Then parted ; ye to Christ's embrace. 
We to the lonesome world again ; 
Yet mindful of the' unearthly strain 
Practised with you at Eden's door — 
To be sung on, where angels soar 
With blended voices evermore." 

Jl. NBEDHAM, P&Il(TBB^ ¥ k'CWKS^O^I^'&.-^Q^.